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Gen. Bipin Rawat (1958-2021)

Helicopter crash: Investigators fly drones to gather evidence at Kattery

Foggy weather slows down pace of probe into helicopter crash

December 09, 2021 05:34 pm | Updated 08:26 pm IST - COONOOR

A drone deployed at the crash site

A drone deployed at the crash site

Amid foggy weather conditions affecting visibility, investigators of the Indian Air Force and Tamil Nadu Police flew drones at the helicopter crash site in Coonoor on Thursday looking for more evidence pertaining to the tragic incident.

A day after the crash left Chief of the Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat , his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others dead in the Nilgiris district, firefighters of the Tamil Nadu Fire and 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. A pall of gloom descended on Kattery, the small village shaken by the devastating crash. Mediapersons from across the country were seen interviewing villagers on what they had heard or seen on October 8.

The VIP helicopter crashed between two mountains in a tea estate located some 100 metres below the village, forest officials said, adding that local people were initially scared to run down to extinguish the flames that had engulfed the helicopter.

The steep road leading to the village and the crash site is a narrow one-way lane making it tough for rescue vehicles to operate with ease.

“Visibility has been poor with intermittent mist in the area after noon on Thursday. Drones are being deployed for aerial visuals as and when the situation is improving. Crucial evidence like crash data recorders, flight data recorder, etc., were recovered from the site,” a forest official who was part of the rescue operations told  The Hindu .

Floral tributes

People from Coonoor gathered in large numbers along the route of the convoy of ambulances that carried the bodies of the defence personnel killed in the crash. Some youth raised “ Bharat Mata ki Jai ” slogans. Women and children were a part of the gathering that showered flowers on the ambulances. A youth association put up a huge banner with a photo of Gen. Bipin Rawat at the Mettupalayam bus stand in homage.

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