Helicopter carrying Indian chief of defence staff crashes in Tamil Nadu

A Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force UH-1J utility helicopter with its tail boom snapped off is seen at the GSDF's Camp Tachikawa in western Tokyo, after it made a crash landing during a training exercise on Friday. Photo: KYODO. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

NEW DELHI, Dec 8, 2021, India Today. An Indian Air Force helicopter with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on board crashed in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor on Wednesday. Four people have been confirmed dead in the incident. There is no immediate information on the condition of General Rawat, India Today reported.

Three people have been rescued so far while a search is on for the others. There were fourteen people on board, according to sources.

The three who have been rescued suffered serious injuries and have been taken to the hospital at Wellington cantonment in Nilgiris district.

CDS Bipin Rawat, his wife, defence assistant, security commandos and an IAF pilot were on board the Mi-series chopper when it crashed between Coimbatore and Sulur in Tamil Nadu, ANI news agency reported.

CDS Bipin Rawat was on his way to Defence Staff College in Wellington from the Indian Air Force base in Sulur near Coimbatore, as per sources. He left Delhi for Sulur earlier on Wednesday.

Visuals from the site of the Indian Air Force helicopter crash showed massive flames and locals helping with the immediate rescue operations. Several teams are at the site carrying out search and rescue operations. Local military officers have reached the location and were told that locals have taken two bodies with 80 per cent burns to a local hospital while more bodies were seen downhill, ANI news agency reported.

The Indian Air Force confirmed the incident on Twitter and said an inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.

“An IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter, with CDS Gen Bipin Rawat on board, met with an accident today near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. An inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident,” the IAF tweeted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh have been briefed on the incident. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will brief Parliament on the crash shortly.

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