Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, an Army Brigadier, and ten others perished when an Indian Air Force (IAF) Mi-17V5 helicopter carrying them crashed into a heavily wooded area of the Coonoor ghat in the Nilgiris in western Tamil Nadu on Wednesday afternoon. The cause of the chopper crash, in which there is only one survivor, is being investigated.
Late in the evening, the Indian Army confirmed that Brigadier L.S. Lidder, Lieutenant Colonel H. Singh, Wing Commander P.S. Chauhan, Squadron Leader K. Singh, Junior Warrant Officer (JWO) Das, JWO Pradeep A., Havildar Satpal, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitender, Lance Naik Vivek and Lance Naik S. Teja were the other defence personnel killed in the crash.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said an inquiry has begun into the crash and that their bodies will be brought to the national capital in the evening.
Gen. Rawat will be cremated under full military honours. Others too will be accorded appropriate military honours, he said.
Here are the live updates :
Lone survivor airlifted to Bengaluru hospital
Group Captain Varun Singh, the lone survivor in the IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter crash, was airlifted to Bengaluru on Thursday for intensive treatment.
Mr. Singh, who suffered burn injuries, had been admitted to the Military Hospital, Wellington on Wednesday.
PM Modi pays respects
Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays respects to Gen. Bipin Rawat in New Delhi. He also met with Rawat's daughters. The country's top military brass paid homage to the victims after their bodies were brought to Delhi in a military aircraft.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, NSA Ajit Doval, Army Chief General MM Naravane, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar, Air Chief Marshal AVR Chaudhari, and Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar were among those who paid homage at a sombre ceremony.
Heart-wrenching scenes were seen at the Palam airport as 13 caskets wrapped in the tricolour were lined up inside a hangar in the presence of their family members.
Only three of the 13 bodies have been identified so far -- Gen Rawat and his wife, and Brig. Lidder. Their funeral will be held on Friday.
Army officials said the bodies of those identified will be released to the families for last rites while the other bodies will be kept at the mortuary at the Army Base Hospital till they are identified.
An emotional farewell that saw thousands on road sides for nearly 50 km
Thousands of people stood shoulder to shoulder showering flower petals and raising emotional slogans as 13 ambulances carrying the coffins of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 defence personnel made their way from Coonoor to the Sulur Air Force Base on Thursday afternoon. “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, “Veera Vanakkam, Veera Vanakkam” (Salute to the brave ) and “Jai Hind”, the crowd kept shouting along the over 50-km route from Mettupalayam to Sulur.
The mortal remains were airlifted to Delhi from Sulur.
All shops and businesses in the Nilgiris will remain closed from 6 a.m to 6 p.m. on Friday as a mark of respect to the victims of the IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter crash.
Mortal remains of Gen. Bipin Rawat to be laid in state for all to pay their last respects at his residence (No. 3, Kamaraj Marg) on Dec 10, 2021.
Last rites of Brig LS Lidder are planned at the Brar Square Crematorium, Delhi Cantt at 0900 hours on 10 December 2021.
- Dinakar Peri
Only three of 13 bodies successfully identified so far
Positive identification of only three mortal remains has been possible as of now -- Gen. Bipin Rawat, Madhulika Rawat and Brig. L.S. Lidder -- and their mortal remains will be released to the Next of Kin, for final religious rites as desired by respective families.
Process for positive identification of remaining 10 mortal remains is ongoing. The remains will be kept at the Mortuary of Army Base Hospital till the completion of positive identification formalities.
Appropriate military funerals of all deceased are being planned and coordinated in close consultation with close family members.
- Dinakar Peri
Flight with mortal remains to reach Delhi shortly
The Indian Air Force C-130 aircraft from Sulur is expected to arrive at Palam Air Base by 7:40 p.m. today. Shradhanjali (Tribute) ceremony is scheduled from 8:30 p.m. onwards.
Investigators fly drones to gather evidence
Amid foggy weather conditions affecting visibility, investigators of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Tamil Nadu police flew drones at the helicopter crash site in Coonoor on Thursday, looking for more evidence into the tragic incident.
A day after a chopper crash left Chief of the Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 other defence personnel dead in the Nilgiris district, firefighters of the Tamil Nadu Fire & Rescue Services assisted investigating officials by cutting damaged trees and clearing debris. The crash site, nestled in a valley, was cordoned off by local police.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be present at Delhi's Palam Air Base to pay tribute to CDS Gen. Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 Defence personnel when their mortal remains arrive from Tamil Nadu's Sulur Air Force Base.
An IAF C-130J aircraft carrying the mortal remains of CDS Gen. Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 Defence personnel took off for New Delhi at 3:49 pm from Sulur Air Force Base in Coimbatore.
Lone survivor being shifted to Bengaluru hospital
Group Captain Varun Singh, the lone survivor of the Mi-17V5 chopper crash, was taken by ambulance to the Sulur Air Force Base in Coimbatore on Thursday. He is expected to be airlifted to Bengaluru for further treatment.
- Rohan Premkumar
Tri-service inquiry ordered, says Rajnath Singh
A tri-service inquiry has been ordered by the Indian Air Force (IAF) headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command, to investigate the Mi-17 V5 helicopter crash that killed Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other military personnel, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday in a statement in Parliament.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will call on the President of India and apprise him of the details of Coonoor tragedy.
Flight Data Recorder (FDR) of the crashed Mi-17 chopper has been recovered from the wreckage. It will be sent for analysis to find out what had occurred in the last moments before it went down in the jungle.
- Dinakar Peri
‘Gen. Rawat had the calibre, the vision and a heart to be the first CDS’
Gen. Bipin Rawat’s untimely demise is an extremely irreparable loss for the Army. Having seen him at close quarters during the Doklam crisis during my tenure in Kashmir, as well as the Military Secretary, he had the qualities of the best leader.
The fact that he was picked up at the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) was because he met all the requirements. He had the calibre, he had the vision, and he had a heart to be the first CDS. He believed in things, he believed in the whole Army, the whole armed forces going on together. And he worked for it. - Lt Gen A K Bhatt retd
Gen. Rawat facilitated indigenisation of special clothing for the Defence personnel
The last five or six years have seen several measures that went into indigenisation of speciality garments and fabrics for the Defence forces and one of the key persons in this effort was General Bipin Rawat, who was earlier the Chief of Army Staff, says S.K. Sundararaman, deputy chairman of Southern India Mills’ Association.
“I met General Rawat at least half a dozen times,” said Mr. Sundararaman, who is also the former chairman of Indian Technical Textile Association (ITTA). The ITTA held an Army sourcing conference in 2016-2017 and General Rawat who was then the Chief of Army Staff was invited as the chief guest. He would back his officers for their ideas. “He empowered his people to take decisions,” Mr. Sundararaman said recollecting his meetings with General Rawat, who died in a chopper crash in the Nilgiris on Wednesday.
Five or six years ago was the transition period when the government wanted to indigenise the speciality clothing and textile requirements of the Defence. Today, almost all the textile and clothing items except a few, such as high altitude gloves and sleeping bags, are made by the domestic industry. All textile sourcing was through the Master-General of the Ordnance.
General Rawat spearheaded the effort to indigenise as he allowed his team to go out and take the required measures to make the products locally. He supported the officers with the procurement processes, said Mr. Sundararaman.
- M. Soundariya Preetha
TMC walks out after Deputy Chair disallows Opposition to pay condolences
All India Trinamool Congress members walked out of the Rajya Sabha after Deputy Chairman refused to allow Opposition members to pay condolences to family of General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others.
We have walked out in protest of the fact that the Chair did not allow any Opposition party to condole the tragic death the Chief of Defence Staff and 12 others on record. Mourning is also monopolised by this regime, TMC leader Sushmita Dev said.
IAF begins investigations, police too, register case, question eye-witnesses
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has launched an investigation into the circumstances that led to the tragic crash of helicopter Mi-17V5 that killed Chief of the Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others near Coonoor in the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, on Wednesday.
According to police sources, the IAF’s Accident Investigation Board officials visited the crash site for field investigations.
Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan arrives at the Shri Nagesh Barracks in Wellington, Coonoor to pay her respects to the military personnel who died in the chopper crash.
- Rohan Premkumar
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K.Stalin visited the Madras Regimental Center and paid his respects to Bipin Rawat and 12 other army personnel perished on Wednesday.
Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge urges the chair to allow all floor leaders to speak on the tragic incident of Conoor, but Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh disallows it.
Bodies to reach Delhi by evening: Defence Minister
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in his statement in the Rajya Sabha, said an inquiry has begun into the helicopter crash that killed Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat and 12 others, and that their bodies will be brought to the national capital in the evening.
"Group Captain Varun Singh is under hospital care. Gen Rawat to be cremated under full military honours. Others too to be accorded appropriate military honours," he informed the House.
‘Black box’ recovered; Air Chief visits crash site
The Cockpit Voice and Flight Data Recorder of the Mi-17V5 chopper of the Indian Air Force, that crashed with Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat , his wife Madhulika Rawat and 12 defence personnel on board at Kattery in the Nilgiris, on Wednesday, were recovered on Thursday morning, a source said.
Examination of the Cockpit Voice and Flight Data Recorder will give insights into the crash when the chopper was heading to the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, from the Air Force Station, Sulur, near Coimbatore.
The mortal remains of General Bipin Rawat and others will be brought to the national capital by today evening.
Gen. Rawat will be cremated under full military honours, while other officers will also be accorded appropriate military honours.
- Nistula Hebbar
Defence Minister gives statement on the crash
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informs the Lok Sabha that Gen. Bipin Rawat was on a scheduled visit to Defence Staff college in Tamil Nadu's Wellington. At 12.18 Sulur helipad lost contact with the helicopter he was on. Locals rushed to the spot and saw that the helicopter was aflame.
Local authorities recovered who they could and rushed them to a nearby hospital in Wellington, Mr. Singh said while adding, 13 out of 14 people on board had died.
The Defence Minister also read out the names of the deceased officers and staff members who were on board.
Rajya Sabha observes two-minute silence
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson Harivansh Narayan Singh read obituary of General Bipin Rawat after which the members observed a two-minute silence as a mark of respect for Gen. Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others.
Opposition cancels sit-in protest
Opposition MPs have decided to suspend their sit-in protest for a day to pay tribute to Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and other soldiers who died in the tragic helicopter crash.
Today is the 9th day of their protest against the Government for suspending 12 Rajya Sabha members.