Group Captain Varun Singh, sole survivor of IAF chopper crash, succumbs to injuries
Group Captain Varun Singh, the sole survivor of the military helicopter crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu's district last week, has succumbed to his injuries, informed the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Wednesday. Singh was undergoing treatment at the Command Hospital Air Force in Bengaluru following the tragic air disaster on December 8, which claimed the lives of India's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika, and other armed forces personnel on board.
“IAF is deeply saddened to inform the passing away of braveheart Group Captain Varun Singh, who succumbed this morning to the injuries sustained in the helicopter accident on 08 Dec 21. IAF offers sincere condolences and stands firmly with the bereaved family,” tweeted the Indian Air Force from its official handle on the microblogging website.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the demise of Captain Singh, saying, “... I am extremely anguished by his passing away. His rich service to the nation will never be forgotten. Condolences to his family and friends.”
“Deeply pained to learn about the passing away of Group Captain Varun Singh, who was battling with the injuries after the helicopter accident in Coonoor,” tweeted Union home minister Amit Shah. “May God bless the Brave's soul and give strength to his family. My deepest condolences. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.”
Singh, a Shaurya Chakra awardee, was travelling with General Rawat as his liaison officer for a visit to the Wellington-based Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), where the CDS was to deliver a lecture. After the helicopter crash, he was brought to the Military Hospital in Wellington but was later shifted to Bengaluru's Air Force Command Hospital.
In its last medical update, the IAF had said on Tuesday that Group Captain Varun Singh was critical, on life support at the Bengaluru hospital, but expressed hope that he will be stable.
Group Captain Singh's father, Colonel (retired) KP Singh earlier described his son as a 'fighter'. Last Saturday, that is four days after the tragedy, defence minister Rajnath Singh, too, had spoken to the retired colonel on the health condition of his son.
On a related note, Captain Singh was conferred with the Shaurya Chakra in August for averting a possible mid-air accident after his Tejas light combat aircraft was hit by a major technical last year.
The Indian Air Force, for its part, has constituted a tri-service Court of Inquiry (CoI) headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh to probe the Mi-17V5 helicopter crash.