CDS Bipin Rawat and wife killed in an air crash in Tamil Nadu

CDS Bipin Rawat and his wife are among the 13 people killed in an air crash in Tamil Nadu

Chief of Defence Staff or CDS Bipin Rawat and his wife are among the 13 people killed in an Indian Air Force (IAF) chopper crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.

“I am deeply anguished by the helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu in which we have lost Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and other personnel of the armed forces. They served India with utmost diligence. My thoughts are with the bereaved families,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

The crash was first reported around 12:20 PM. The Defence camp got to know about the incident from the district administrator who was informed by the villagers from the nearby Katteri. Medical teams from Coimbatore and Wellington and eight ambulances arrived at the scene.

Here are key highlights of the story:

- The chopper crashed shortly before landing in Ooty, where CDS Bipin Rawat was supposed to take part in an interaction programme with cadets in a Defence Service Staff College.

- The crash happened in a forested area, making it more difficult to access the wreckage. Photos from the site showed pieces of the chopper were still in the fire. They are lying on the hillside scattered. One of the nearby villagers, who was startled by the loud sound, reportedly said that the IAF chopper caught fire after hitting the first tree.

- A high-powered Cabinet Committee on Security, including Narendra Modi, Home Minister Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, will convene this evening at the Prime Minister’s residence.

- 13 of the 14 people on board have died, the Collector of the Nilgiris district said. The sole survivor, Group Captain Varun Singh, is being treated for severe injuries in Military Hospital, Wellington. However, Air Force has confirmed that Varun Singh and Directing Staff at DSSC are currently undergoing treatment at Wellington.

- Indian Army has taken control of the crash site. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin is on his way to the crash site.

- The chopper was a Mi-17 V5 variant, one of the latest versions of military transport vehicles available. It belongs to the 109 Helicopter unit based in Sulur, Tamil Nadu.

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