Gen Bipin Rawat's Chopper Crashes: What We Know So Far - 10 Points

Gen Bipin Rawat's Chopper Crashes: What We Know So Far - 10 Points

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Chopper Crash: General Bipin Rawat, 63, took charge as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff in January 2019; he was also appointed as head of the new Department of Military Affairs

NEW DELHI, INDIA JANUARY 16: Chief of Defence Staff (India), Bipin Rawat addresses his session at Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi. (Photo by Pankaj Nangia/India Today Group/Getty Images)

8 December 2021

An Air Force chopper carrying Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, his wife, and several of his staff members, including his Defence Assistant, security commandos and other Air Force personnel, crashed at 12.20 pm in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

14 people – five crew and nine passengers – were on board the Air Force’s Mi-17V5 helicopter. The Air Force has confirmed General Rawat was on board. There is no confirmation on his condition at this time.

Five people have died. Two are in hospital with 90 per cent burn injuries. A search is on for the other seven. The injured are being treated at the military hospital at the Wellingdon base.

The identities of those killed is being withheld at this point. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and will brief Parliament shortly. A meeting of senior defence officials is taking place in Delhi. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin will leave for the crash site at 5 pm.

The chopper crashed shortly after it took off this morning from an Air Force base in Sulur near Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore. It was heading to Wellington in Udhagamandalam, also known as Ooty, where a Defence Services Staff College is located.

The crash was first reported around 12.20 pm. The defence establishment learnt of the incident from villagers in nearby Katteri who informed the district administration. Eight ambulances and medical teams from Coimbatore and Wellingdon are at the scene.

The Tamil Nadu government has sent senior officials, including the Nilgiri District Collector, to the crash site. A medical team from Udhagamandalam and experts from Coimbatore are at the scene. The Forest Minister is also en route. Locals are helping in the rescue ops.

The crash site is in a forested area, which makes access to the wreckage difficult. Visuals showed pieces of the chopper, some of which is still on fire, scattered on the hillside and rescuers at work, struggling through thick smoke and fire.

Former Army chief General JJ Singh told NDTV that the bodies that have been recovered are charred, which is making identification difficult. Those rescued have sustained severe burn injuries.

The Air Force, while tweeting confirmation that General Rawat was on board, has also said an inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.

The Mi series choppers are the workhorse of the Indian Air Force and are used in high-altitude operations. They are also used to ferry VIPs, including the Prime Minister.


Copyright © NDTV and News Agencies

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The Radical Outlook is an online news web Portal designed for in-depth news analysis from the Eurasian region and beyond. It is Founded by a geopolitical analyst Shahzada Rahim.
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