Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others, who were on board IAF's Mi-17V5 helicopter, died in the crash on Wednesday near Tamil Nadu's Connoor.
Meanwhile, an eyewitness at the crash site has claimed that he saw CDS Bipin Rawat alive moments after the wreckage was found.
Speaking to NDTV, eyewitness Shiv Kumar said he saw three bodies fall and one man was alive. The man asked for water, said Shiv Kumar. "We pulled him out in a bedsheet and he was taken away by rescuers," he added.
Shiv Kumar said he was not aware who the man was. He said that three hours later he got to know that the man he spoke to was the CDS Bipin Rawat. "I could not believe that this man did so much for the country...and could not even get water. I could not sleep all night," he added.
Meanwhile, the last rites will be held in Delhi on Friday with military honours. A funeral procession will start from Kamraj Marg to Brar Square crematorium in Delhi Cantonment.
Besides, the government today ordered a 'tri service' enquiry into the accident.
The enquiry will be headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command.
Informing about the timeline of the fatal crash, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Lok Sabha said that the IAF chopper lost contact with the Sulur base control room at around 12.08 pm, after it took off at 11.48 am from Sulur airbase.
Both Houses of the Parliament observed two-minutes silence on the demise of 13 people.
Those who died in the crash include General Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, his Defence Adviser Brigadier Lakhbinder Singh Lidder, Staff Officer Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh and nine other Armed Forces personnel including the Air Force helicopter crew.
Their names are Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan, Squadron Leader Kuldeep Singh, Junior Warrant Officer Rana Pratap Das, Junior Warrant Officer Arakkal Pradeep, Havildar Satpal Rai, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitendra Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar, Lance Naik B Sai Teja.
(With ANI inputs)
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