Chief of defence staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat on Wednesday died after an IAF chopper he was on board crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris district. His wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others were also killed in the mishap, the Indian Air Force (IAF) said.
Reports said 14 passengers, including crew members, were on board the ill-fated helicopter that crashed on its way from Sulur to Wellington reportedly due to low visibility under foggy conditions. It is being said 11 of the 14 passengers were killed in the mishap.
Rawat had taken a flight from Delhi to Sulur earlier in the day and that flight had nine people on board. The flight from Sulur included five more.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to brief Parliament on the crash. He has already spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi before paying a visit to Rawat’s residence in Delhi.
According to passenger details, besides Rawat and his wife, Brigadier LS Lidder, Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, NK Gursewak Singh, NK Jitendra Kr, L/Naik Vivek Kumar, L/Naik B Sai Teja and Hav Satpal were travelling in the Mi-17VH choppper.
Rawat had taken over as India’s first chief of defence staff (CDS) on December 31, 2019, after serving as the army chief for a full three-year term.