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09.12.2021 23:27 News >> India's Copter Crash: Mortal Remains Of Victims Brought To New Delhi

India's Copter Crash: Mortal Remains Of Victims Brought To New Delhi

Probe ordered into incident that left 13 dead, including defense staff chief, wife.

The bodies of India's Chief of Defense Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others were taken to the national capital, New Delhi, late Thursday after they were involved in a deadly helicopter crash.
An Indian Air Force plane carrying the remains arrived at the Palam Airbase one day after the accident in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh were among those who were present to pay homage to the victims,
"Paid my last respects to Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife, and other personnel of the Armed Forces. India will never forget their rich contribution," Modi wrote on Twitter.
The funeral of the top general will be held Friday, said officials.
Earlier, the country's defense minister told parliament that the chopper lost contact with air traffic control shortly before it was scheduled to land.
"The Air Force Mi-17V5 helicopter took off from Sulur Air Base at 11.48 a.m. (0618GMT) yesterday and was expected to land at Wellington by 12.15 p.m. Air traffic control at Sulur Air Base lost contact with the helicopter at approximately 12.08 p.m.," Rajnath Singh told parliament.
Rawat, 63, who also served as army chief, was traveling in the Russian-made Mi-17V5 helicopter en route to the defense services staff college in Wellington in Tamil Nadu to address faculty and student officers, when the accident occurred near the Coonoor area, according to the Indian Air Force.
One survivor, a senior Air Force officer, was injured and is currently receiving treatment at the military hospital in Wellington.
Singh said several residents spotted a fire in the forest near Coonoor and rushed to the site where they "observed the wreckage of a military helicopter engulfed in flames."
He said the deceased also included Rawat's Defense Adviser Brigadier Lakhbinder Singh Lidder, Staff Officer Lt. Col. Harjinder Singh and nine armed forces personnel, including the Air Force helicopter crew.
The defense minister said Air Force Group Captain Varun Singh, the lone survivor, was "on life support" and all efforts "are being made to save his life."
Singh also noted that the Air Force ordered a tri-service inquiry into the incident, headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh. "The inquiry team reached Wellington yesterday itself and started the investigation," he said.
He added that soon after the accident, Indian Air Force Chief VR Chaudhari was sent to the site.
Early Thursday, television footage was aired showing Chaudhari reaching the crash site. Also, the bodies of the victims were taken to the Madras Regimental Center from the military hospital in Wellington for a wreath-laying ceremony.
Footage also showed that the "black box" of the helicopter being recovered from the crash site.
Singh said the bodies of all the victims would be brought to the national capital Delhi by Thursday evening. "The chief of defense staff will be cremated with full military honors," he said.
Rawat was appointed India's first chief of defense staff in 2019, a position established for coordination between the country's three armed services -- the army, navy, and air force. -



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