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IAF helicopter crash: Around 12.08 pm, Sulur base control room lost contact with chopper, says Rajnath Singh in Parliament

12:32 PM Dec 09, 2021 | FPJ Web Desk

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday briefed the Parliament on IAF helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu that left Chief Of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others dead.

Making a statement in the Parliament, Rajnath Singh said that the chopper started at 11.48am from Sulur and was supposed to reach the Wellington airbase at 12.15pm. At around 12.08pm, the Sulur base control room lost contact with the chopper.

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"General Bipin Rawat was on a scheduled visit to Defence ServicesStaff College, Wellington to interact with the student Officers. The Air Force Mi 17 V 5 helicopter took off from Sulur Air Base at 11:48 AM yesterday and was expected to land at Wellington by 12:15 PM. Air Traffic Control at Sulur Air Base lost contact with the helicopter at approximately 12:08 PM," Rajnath Singh said.

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"Subsequently, few locals spotted a fire in the forest near Coonoor and rushed to the spot where they observed the wreckage of military helicopter engulfed in flames. Rescue teams from the local administration in the vicinity reached the site and attempted to recover the survivors from the crash site" he added.

Rajnath Singh informed the Parliament that all those recovered from the wreckage were rushed to the Military Hospital, Wellington. "Latest reports have confirmed that out of the total 14 persons onboard the ill-fated helicopter, 13 have succumbed to their injuries," he added.

Thirteen of the 14 people on board the helicopter died in the crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.

Singh said that Group Captain Varun Singh, who survived the crash, is on life support at a Wellington hospital.

In his statement to Parliament, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) has ordered a tri Service enquiry into the chopper crash in Tamil Nadu that killed Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and 12 others. The Defence Minister said that the probe will be headed by Air Marshal Manavendra Singh.

Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Wednesday confirmed the demise of General Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others, who were on-board the IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter.

General Rawat, India's first CDS, was on a visit to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington to address the faculty and student officers of the Staff Course when his chopper crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu.

General Rawat was appointed as India's first Chief of Defense Staff on December 31, 2019. He previously served as Chief of the Army Staff from January 2017 to December 2019. He was commissioned into the Indian Army in December 1978.

(With inputs from PTI)

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