General Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), died on Wednesday when an IAF chopper he was aboard crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris district. The incident also claimed the lives of his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others, according to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
According to reports, the ill-fated helicopter had 14 passengers on board, including crew members, when it crashed on its route from Sulur to Wellington, purportedly due to inadequate visibility in foggy weather. According to reports, 11 of the 14 passengers died in the crash.
Rawat had flown from Delhi to Sulur earlier in the day, with a total of nine passengers on board. Five more people were on the airplane from Sulur.
The Indian Air Force said Wednesday that a military helicopter carrying defense chief General Bipin Rawat crashed in the south of the country.
There has been no official confirmation of fatalities. The local newspaper reported that at least seven bodies had been recovered at the site of the crash.
The 63-year-old chief of defense staff was traveling in a Russian-made Mi-17V5 chopper that “met with an accident today near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu,” the Indian Air Force said on Twitter.
“An Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident,” it added.