Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tells Parliament over chopper tragedy involving CDS Bipin Rawat
Chopper tragedy of CDS Bipin Rawat: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh briefed Parliament on the IAF chopper crash in Tamil Nadu
On Wednesday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh briefed Parliament on the Indian Air Force (IAF) chopper crash in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. He notified both chambers of Parliament, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, that Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat had died in the crash. The Mi-17V5 helicopter crashed at Coonoor, killing 13 of the 14 people on board. Varun Singh, a Group Captain who survived the incident, suffered 45 percent burn injuries and is currently receiving treatment.
Rajnath Singh expressed his sorrow at the unexpected deaths of CDS General Bipin Rawat and 12 others, paying tribute to the departed and expressing condolences to the grieving families. He also described the situation in full.
Rajnath Singh's full statement here:
With profound grief and heavy heart, I stand to convey the unfortunate news of the crash of the military helicopter in the noon of 8th December 2021, with India's first Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Bipin Rawat onboard.
Gen Bipin Rawat was on a scheduled visit to Defence Services Staff College, Wellington to interact with the student Officers. The Air Force Mi 17V5 helicopter took off from Sulur Air Base at 11:48 AM yesterday and was expected to land at Wellington by 12:15 PM.
Air Traffic Control at Sulur Air Base lost contact with the helicopter at approximately 12:08 PM. Subsequently, a few locals spotted a fire in the forest near Coonoor and rushed to the spot where they observed the wreckage of military helicopter engulfed in flames. Rescue teams from the local administration in the vicinity reached the site and attempted to recover the survivors from the crash site.
All those recovered from the wreckage were rushed to the Military Hospital, Wellington. Latest reports have confirmed that out of the total 14 persons onboard, the ill-fated helicopter, 13 have succumbed to their injuries. The dead include the spouse of the CDS, Mrs Madhulika Rawat, his Defence Adviser Brig Lakhbinder Singh Lidder, Staff Officer Lt Col Harjinder Singh and nine other Armed Forces personnel including the Air Force helicopter crew. Their names are Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan, Squadron Leader Kuldeep Singh, Junior Warrant Officer Rana Pratap Das, Junior Warrant Officer Arakkal Pradeep, Havildar Satpal Rai, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitendra Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar, Lance Naik B Sai Teja. Group Captain Varun Singh is on life support in the Military Hospital at Wellington and all efforts are being made to save his life.
A tri-service enquiry regarding the incident has been ordered by Indian Air Force, headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command.
The Chief of Defence Staff would be cremated with full military honours.
I, on behalf of the August House, pay homage to the deceased persons and express condolences to the bereaved families.