NEW DEHLI: Top Indian military official General Bipin Rawat, along with 12 others, were killed on Wednesday when an Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter crashed in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor, the Indian Air Force announced.
India TV reported as Rawat receiving burns to 70-80% of his body.
Those on board the chopper, an Mi-17V5 , included Rawat’s wife, the defense secretary, security commander and air force pilots.
The chopper was moving from Sulur in Coimbatore to Defence Services Staff College in Wellington where Rawat, along with Chief of Army Staff MM Naravane, was scheduled to participate in an event later.
Earlier, three passengers who were reported to have been rescued were said to have suffered serious injuries — with some Indian media outlets reporting they received burns to 85% of their bodies — and were taken to the hospital at Wellington cantonment in Nilgiris district.
Meanwhile, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh briefed the cabinet and was expected to make a statement in Parliament on the incident tomorrow.
He will also be going to Rawat’s home to brief his family about the incident.
In addition, Indian Air Force chief Vivek Ram Chaudhuri was to survey the site of the crash.
“Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Bipin Rawat’s staff and family members were on board the Mi-series chopper along with him when it crashed between Coimbatore and Sulur in Tamil Nadu” according to ANI news agency.
The top Indian military official was on his way to Defence Staff College in Wellington from the IAF base in Sulur near Coimbatore.
Rawat is India’s first CDS, a position that the Indian government established in 2019, and is seen as close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Confirming the incident, the Indian Air Force said that an inquiry has been ordered into the matter.