Defence Chief General Bipin Rawat, his wife, his Defence Assistant, security commandos and Air Force personnel were also on board.
Chief Defence General Bipin Rawat died today after an Air Force helicopter carrying him and 13 others crashed shortly after take-off in Coonoor Tamil Nadu. His wife Madhulika Rawat also died in the crash.
The crash took place shortly after the Russian-made Mi-17 V5 chopper took off from the Air Force base in Sulur, Coimbatore, for Wellington in the Nilgiri Hills.
The helicopter was already making its descent and would have landed in 10 more minutes. It came down around 10 km from the nearest road, forcing emergency workers to trek to the accident site, said news agency AFP.
Videos showed wreckage scattered on a hillside and rescuers struggling through thick smoke and fire to locate bodies. Charred bodies were pulled out by locals and cops from under mangled metal and fallen trees.
General Rawat who was 63 years old was India’s first Chief of Defence Staff in January 2019. The position was set up with the aim of integrating the three services – the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
A former Army Chief, General Rawat was also appointed the head of the newly-created Department of Military Affairs. Many former army chiefs expressed grief; they described the Mi-17 double engine chopper as a very stable aircraft used for VVIP flights.
Many Bollywood Actors & Sports Fraternity Mourns the Loss!!
May his soul Rest In Peace!!