IAF Chopper Crash: Indian Air Force’s Group Captain Varun Singh,  the lone survivor of the ill-fated Mi-17V5 helicopter that crash, which led to the death of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday. “IAF is deeply saddened to inform the passing away of braveheart Group Captain Varun Singh, who succumbed this morning to the injuries sustained in the helicopter accident on 08 Dec 21. IAF offers sincere condolences and stands firmly with the bereaved family”, the Indian Air Forced said confirming his demise.Also Read - NDA Batchmate Remembers General Bipin Rawat, Calls His Untimely Demise 'Big Loss'

A day after the crash, he was rushed to Bengaluru. With severe burn injuries, he was battling for life at Command Hospital there. His condition was stated to be very critical throughout.

Varun Singh, The Sole Survivor And A Shaurya Chakra Recipient

Last year, Singh had a narrow escape when a Light Combat Aircraft which he was flying suffered a system failure while descending, and led to total loss of control of the aircraft. It was an unprecedented catastrophic failure that had never occurred. There was a rapid loss of altitude, with the aircraft pitching up and down viciously, going to the extremities of G limits.

Soon after, at about 10,000 feet, the aircraft again experienced a total loss of control with vicious manoeuvring and uncontrollable pitching. Under such a scenario, the pilot was at liberty to abandon the aircraft. Faced with a potential hazard to his own life, he displayed extraordinary courage and skill to safely land the fighter aircraft. For his high order of professionalism, composure and quick decision making, Singh was conferred with the Shaurya Chakra.

Coonoor IAF Helicopter Crash: A Grim Reminder on High-Profile Military Air Mishaps

A man stands next to the burning debris of an IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter crash site in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, on December 8, 2021. A helicopter carrying India’s defence chief General Bipin Rawat crashed, the air force said, with a government minister at the scene saying at least seven people were dead. (AFP)

Unprecedented Catastrophic Failure That Had Never Occurred

“This was an unprecedented catastrophic failure that had never occurred. There was a rapid loss of altitude… with the aircraft pitching up and down viciously going to the extremities of G limits. Despite being in extreme physical and mental stress in an extremely life-threatening situation, he maintained exemplary composure and regained control of the aircraft, thereby exhibiting exceptional flying skills.,” his Shaurya Chakra citation said.

Furthermore, it said, “Singh went beyond the call of duty and landed the aircraft taking calculated risks which also allowed “an accurate analysis of the fault on the indigenously designed fighter and further institution of preventive measures against recurrence. For this “high order of professionalism, composure and quick decision making, even at the peril to his life, he not only averted the loss of an LCA, but also safeguarded civilian property and population on the ground.”

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(Representational Picture)

It was learnt that Singh was recently promoted from Wing Commander to Group Captain and was a recent joinee at the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC).