Chennai: A chopper of the Indian Air Force carrying Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday, the IAF confirmed. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the development.
“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 cause,” IAF said in a statement at around 1.45 pm.
Teams of Army and Police have rushed to the spot. Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said a special medical team has been sent to Coonoor to provide treatment to the injured.
Reports said the helicopter crashed in the Kaatteri hilly area. It exploded soon after it took off from Sulur Air Base.
Sources said four bodies, which were charred beyond recognition, were recovered from the spot.
As per a record of the people on board were Gen Rawat, Madhulika Rawat (wife of CDS), Brig LS Lidder, Lt Col Harjinder Singh, NK Gursewak Singh, NK Jitendra Kumar, L/NK Vivek Kumar, L/NK B Sai Teja, Havildar Satpal among others
Three officers, who sustained serious injuries and burns, were shifted to a hospital.
The helicopter crashed in Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu was heading to Wellingdon from Sulur.
Defence sources said 14 people were in the helicopter when it exploded. So far four bodies recovered were charred beyond recognition and awaiting identification.
Three officers, who sustained serious injuries and burns, were shifted to a hospital, and their condition was stated to be critical.
The fate of the remaining seven people, including Gen Rawat and his wife was being ascertained.