New Delhi: An Indian Air Force helicopter with Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat on board met with an accident on Wednesday near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu. CDS Rawat, his wife Madhulika was on his way to the Defence Staff College in Wellington in Coonoor district. He was about to deliver a lecture at around 2:45 PM today. There was no immediate information on the condition of Gen Rawat, even as the IAF said a Court of Inquiry has been ordered into the accident, involving a Mi-17V-5 chopper that took from the Sulur IAF Station in nearby Coimbatore.Also Read - Maharashtra, Karnataka, 4 Others Among 'States of Concern', Centre Rushes Teams To Review Situation
What led to the mishap?
While the main cause of the crash is yet to be known, reports said that the accident took place due to bad weather conditions. The chopper crashed in a forest area reportedly due to poor visibility following heavy fog, the IAF also stated. A former Wing Commander of the Indian Air Force (IAF) told IANS that ‘based on the visuals on the news channels, the helicopter must have crashed with a strong impact and exploded’. Also Read - Rajnath Singh Writes to Bengal, Tamil Nadu CMs Over Exclusion of Tableaux From Republic Day Parade
Speaking to a portal, an eyewitness to the incident said he heard a loud noise. “When I came outside to see what had happened, I saw the helicopter crash into a tree. There was a huge fireball and then it crashed into another tree. I saw two-three people coming out of the helicopter, they were completely burnt and started falling”, India Today quoted Krishnaswamy, the witness as saying. Also Read - First in India! Tamil Nadu Couple to Host Harry Potter-Themed Wedding Reception in Metaverse | Watch
Visuals from the accident site
TV visuals showed the chopper in flames, apparently under the impact of the crash. Rescue personnel, along with Army personnel, were seen involved in clearing the area.
List of people on board
14 people were on-board the military chopper that crashed b/w Coimbatore and Sulur in Tamil Nadu. They included CDS Gen Bipin Rawat, Brigadier L.S. Lidder, Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitender Kumar, Naik Vivek Kumar, Naik B. Sai Teja, Havaldar Satpal and pilots.
Meanwhile, the Wellington hospital in Tamil Nadu is surrounded by a strong contingent of police personnel. According to Tamil Nadu Health Secretary Dr J. Radhakrishnan a special medical team has been sent to Coonoor to provide treatment to CDS Rawat and other injured officials.