Army helicopter carrying defence chief Bipin Rawat, senior officials crashes in TN; toll rises

The chopper was on its way from the Sulur IAF base to the Defence Services College (DSC) at Wellington when it crashed.

Published: 08th December 2021 01:49 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th December 2021 04:37 PM   |  A+A-

The chopper was on its way from the Sulur IAF base to the DSC at Wellington. (Photo | Special arrangement)

By Express News Service

COIMBATORE: An Army helicopter carrying senior defence officers including Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat crashed near Coonoor in the nearby hilly Nilgiris district on Wednesday, police sources said.

Fourteen people were on board. They included Gen Rawat's wife Madhulika Rawat, Brig LS Lidder, Lt Col Harjinder Singh, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitendra Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar, Lance Naik B Sai Teja and Havaldar Satpal, according to sources.

Defence Minister briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the crash. He also paid a visit to General Rawat's residence. The Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari has been asked to head to the accident site.

TN Forest Minister K Ramachandran told The New Indian Express that on the instruction of Chief Minister MK Stalin he had rushed to the accident spot and was overseeing the rescue operation. 

He said that 14 persons were in the helicopter but added defence sources have not confirmed other details.

As many as eleven bodies have been recovered while three who had been pulled out from the debris were sent to the hospital for treatment, he said.

The Minister said the accident took place because of thick mist engulfing the area. 

Fire Service personnel as also local people are helping in the rescue operations but as the site of the accident is narrow, they are finding it difficult to move about in large numbers, he said. 

Nilgiris district collector SP Amrith too confirmed to The New Indian Express that 14 people including the Chief of Defence Staff Rawat were on board the helicopter that crashed near Coonoor. 

The chopper was on its way from the Sulur IAF base to the Defence Services College (DSC) at Wellington when it crashed.

The mishap happened at Nanjappanchathiram area amid heavy mist and early visuals showed the helicopter in flames.


"An IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter, with CDS Gen Bipin Rawat on board, met with an accident today near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. An inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident," tweeted the Indian Air Force.

(With inputs from agencies)


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