Rajnath Singh briefed by team that probed CDS Bipin Rawat’s helicopter crash
NEW DELHI: Defence minister Rajnath Singh was on Wednesday informed of the findings of a tri-services investigation into the helicopter crash that killed Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and 13 others on December 8, people familiar with the matter said.
The investigation team has completed its probe into the crash of the Russian-origin Mi-17V5 helicopter near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, the people said on condition of anonymity.
There was no official word on the development.
The court of inquiry into the crash was headed by Air Marshal Manavendra Singh of the Indian Air Force (IAF). A senior helicopter pilot of the Indian Navy and an army officer were part of the investigation team. Singh, who heads the IAF’s training command in Bengaluru, is considered a leading air crash investigator.
Reports have suggested that the crash didn’t happen due to a technical fault in the IAF helicopter. According to the reports, the helicopter was flying at a low altitude while following a railway line when it suddenly encountered thick clouds.
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The entire crew of the helicopter was highly qualified and some reports have suggested that the crash was due to a “controlled flight into terrain” due to lack of situational awareness.
Besides the CDS, his wife Madhulika, his defence adviser Brig LS Lidder, staff officer Lt Col Harjinder Singh and Group Captain Varun Singh were among those killed in the crash.
The investigation team examined all likely scenarios for the crash, including possible human error or the crew being disoriented, the people said.
The team is also believed to have framed certain recommendations for revising standard operating procedures for helicopters carrying senior officers of the armed forces.