New Delhi: In its preliminary finding, the Tri-Services Court of Inquiry into the December 8, 2021, chopper crash that killed CDS Gen Bipin Rawat and 13 others, ruled out mechanical failure, sabotage, or negligence as a cause of the accident, said Indian Air Force (IAF) on Friday. As per IAF, the unfortunate accident was a result of the pilot’s error when clouds entered due to an unexpected change in weather.Also Read - Centre Likely to Take 'More Time' in Naming CDS Bipin Rawat’s Successor: Report

“Tri-Services Court of Inquiry into the Mi-17 V5 accident on 08 Dec 21 (which killed CDS Rawat and others) in its preliminary findings analysed Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder; has ruled out mechanical failure, sabotage or negligence as a cause of the accident,” said IAF in a statement. Also Read - CDS Bipin Rawat Chopper Crash: Inquiry Report Likely To Be Submitted Next Week

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Giving its findings on reasons behind the crash, the Tri Service report said, “Accident was a result of entry into clouds due to unexpected change in weather… This led to spatial disorientation of the pilot resulting in Controlled Flight into Terrain.”

IAF said that based on its findings, Court of Inquiry has made certain recommendations which are being reviewed.

The tri-services inquiry team on January 5 made some recommendations for revising the standard operating procedures while operating choppers carrying senior officials of the defence forces, sources had told news agency ANI.

On the crash details, the ANI sources said the Mi-17V5 was following a railway line in the hills when it entered a thick cloud cover that emerged suddenly.  The chopper was flying at a low altitude and knowing the terrain, it emerged that the crew decided to fly out of the cloud cover rather than land, and hit a cliff in the process, the sources said.

The sources suggested that since the entire crew was ‘master green’ category, they were confident that they would be able to wriggle out of the situation as there was no distress call made to the ground stations to suggest an emergency.

Sources added that the ‘Master green’ category is given to the best of pilots in the transport aircraft and helicopter fleets of the three forces as they are the ones who can land or take off in low visibility as well.
Further, it said that one of the recommendations which are learnt to have been made by the inquiry committee is that in future, the crew should be a mix of master green and other category pilots so that if required, they can seek help from the ground stations.

A number of other recommendations are also learnt to have been made by the inquiry committee headed by Air Marshal M Singh.

Rawat, who hails from Pauri Garhwal in Uttarakhand, died in a helicopter crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on December 8 along with 13 others including his wife Madhulika Rawat.

(With inputs from ANI)