Army chopper with CDS Rawat crashes; 11 feared dead

Army helicopter with CDS Bipin Rawat, senior Defence officials crashes in Tamil Nadu; 11 feared dead

Bad weather is suspected to be the reason behind the crash

Visuals from the crash site, CDS Bipin Rawat. Credit: IANS, PTI Photos

An Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter carrying the Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and twelve others crashed in Coonoor in the Nilgiris district on Wednesday.

Eleven persons are feared dead, while the status of Gen Rawat is not yet known.

Bad weather is suspected to be the reason behind the crash. The chopper with nine senior military officials on board took off from the Sulur Air Base in Coimbatore on Wednesday morning and it was bound for Wellington in the Nilgiris. The chopper crashed 10 mins before it was to reach its destination.

Police, fire and rescue personnel and army officials rushed to the spot.

The IAF confirmed that Mi-17V5 helicopter with CDS Gen Bipin Rawat on board,  met with an accident on Wednesday near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu.

"An Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident," the IAF said.

A high-level medical team was rushed from Coimbatore.

What we know so far:

1. An IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter, with CDS Gen Bipin Rawat on board, met with an accident today near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu

2. An Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident

3. 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, News agency ANI reported

4. A total of 14 persons, including CDS Rawat's wife were on board the helicopter.

5. Latest visuals from the spot (between Coimbatore and Sulur) where a military chopper crashed in Tamil Nadu :
 

6. 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. Few bodies can be seen downhill in the area of the accident. Efforts are on to retrieve the bodies and check identities, news agency ANI reported

7. The Chief of Defence Staff was on his way to the Defence Staff College in Wellington

8. A high-level medical team was rushed from Coimbatore

9. The chopper crashed 10 mins before it was to reach its destination

11. CM Stalin directs Nilgiris District administration to  help the Army in rescue operations

12. The government is expected to issue a statement on Thursday in the Parliament

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