Army chopper carrying CDS Bipin Rawat crashes in Ooty, probe ordered
An Army helicopter carrying senior defence officials, including chief of defence staff Bipin Rawat, crashed at Coonoor in Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday killing four on the spot. According to reports, around14 people were on board and the chopper was flying from Sulur Airbase to Wellington when it crashed. Three officials have been rescued so far while a search is on for others, an official said. The injured have been taken to Wellington cantonment in Nilgiris.
News agency ANI reported that along with Bipin Rawat, his staff and some family members were in the Mi-series chopper. As soon as the chopper crashed, a search and rescue operation was launched from nearby bases, sources confirmed. Local people too swung into rescue work and the early photos of the crashed chopper have been sources for local rescuers.
Watch video of rescue work at the chopper crash site
The Indian Air Force issued a statement confirming the crash and the presence of CDS Rawat on board. “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,” the IAF said.
According to passenger details, Bipin Rawat, Madhulika Rawat, Brig LS Lidder, Lt Col Harjinder Singh, NK Gurusewak Singh, NK Jitendra Kumar, L/NK Vivek Kumar, L/NK B sai Teja, Hav Satpal were flying from Delhi to Sulur on the chopper. The passenger list from Sulur to Wellington is not out yet.
As the rescue work is going on, officials said the bodies are yet to be identified. Two officials with 80% burns were sent to a local hospital, ANI reported.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh will brief Parliament on the army chopper crash, a report said.
Reactions started pouring with ministers, politicians praying for the safety of the passengers on board.
(With inputs from agencies and Bureau)