An Indian Army helicopter carrying Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat crashed as reported by Indian media. The helicopter crashed near Coonoor in the nearby hilly Nilgiris district on Wednesday.
According to details, the Mi-17V5 helicopter was on its way from the Sulur IAF base to the Defence Services College at Wellington when it crashed. Furthermore, the mishap happened at the Nanjappanchathiram area amid heavy mist and early visuals showed the helicopter in flames.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) also confirmed the news on Twitter.
“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,” IAF tweeted.
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.
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) December 8, 2021
Moreover, a total of 14 people including Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife, Defence Assistant, security commandos, and IAF pilots were on board the chopper.
The rescue team, along with military officers immediately reached the site, to assess the damage. As per the latest updates, three victims received serious injuries and have been transferred to Wellington Cantt Hospital for medical attention and identification. Additionally, Indian media reported 4 dead. Currently there are no official reports on whether Bipin Rawat is alive or not.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the developments.
India concerned over frequent chopper crashes
As the news of the crash hits mainstream media, Indians expressed concern over the frequent crashes.
Earlier, an Indian Army helicopter crashed into the Ranjit Sagar Dam lake in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district. Speculations were rife that it may be due to a technical failure.
Similarly, in January, one pilot died after an Indian Army helicopter crashed in Kathua district’s Lakhanpur near the Jammu and Kashmir-Punjab border. The HAL Dhruv helicopter crashed after developing a technical issue.
Last year in February, an Army chopper crashed near Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district. The two pilots of the helicopter survived the crash.
Owing to the frequent crashes, Indian social media users raised concerns. Some criticized the pilots, while others blamed the outdated aircraft.