Written by Shivangi Chawla
On Wednesday, we received heartbreaking news about a chopper crash in Tamil Nadu. The chopper was carrying Gen Rawat, 13 other people. In the chopper crash, 13 people died at the spot including the General and his wife.
A sole male survivor – Group Captain Varun Singh – is being treated for severe injuries. “Group Captain Varun Singh SC, Directing Staff at DSSC, with injuries is currently under treatment at Military Hospital, Wellington,” the Air Force confirmed.
General Bipin Rawat, 63, took charge as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff in January 2019; he was also appointed as head of the new Department of Military Affairs.
The incident took place in Nilgiri Hills. 14 people were on board out of which 5 were crew members and 9 were passengers. The Mi-17 V5 chopper crashed shortly after it took from an Air Force base in Sulur near Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore. At 11.45 AM, General Rawat left for Wellington in Udhagamandalam, also known as Ooty, where a Defence Services Staff College is located, aboard the Mi-17V5 chopper with 13 others. At noon, the chopper crashed near Coonoor, 14km from its destination.
The crash was first reported around 12.20 pm. The defense establishment learned of the incident from villagers in nearby Kateri who informed the district administration. Eight ambulances and medical teams from Coimbatore and Wellington are at the scene.
The Indian Air Force tweeted in the evening – at 6.03 pm – to confirm that Gen Rawat and his wife, Madhulika Rawat had died. 14 people – five crew and nine passengers – were on board the Mi-17V5 helicopter that went down in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiri Hills.
General Bipin Rawat and his wife will be cremated on Friday in Delhi Cantonment. Their bodies are expected to arrive in the national capital in a military plane later today.
Tributes will be given for Gen Rawat, with President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Home Minister Amit Shah, and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar leading the way. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, and the NCP’s Sharad Pawar also tweeted.