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IAF helicopter crash: Govt likely to issue statement tomorrow in Parliament

FPJ Web Desk | Updated on: Wednesday, December 08, 2021, 04:40 PM IST

Wreckage of the crashed IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter, in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. CDS Gen Bipin Rawat, his staff and some family members were in the chopper. |
Wreckage of the crashed IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter, in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. CDS Gen Bipin Rawat, his staff and some family members were in the chopper. |
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The Govt of India is likely to issue a statement tomorrow in Parliament on the unfortunate crash of the military chopper with Chief of Defence Staff on board.

Union I&B Minister Anurag Thakur on Wednesday said information about the helicopter accident in Coonoor in Tamil Nadu will be shared by the ministry concerned at an appropriate time.

"The entire information about the accident that has taken place will be shared by the concerned ministry at an appropriate time," Thakur told reporters when asked about the helicopter crash involving Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat.

An Indian Air Force helicopter with the Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat on board crashed today near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, the IAF said, as four people were killed in the mishap that happened reportedly due to low visibility owing to foggy conditions. However, there was no immediate information on the condition of Gen Rawat, even as the IAF said a Court of Inquiry has been ordered into the accident, involving a Mi-17VH chopper that took off from the Sulur IAF Station in nearby Coimbatore.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, who will be visiting the crash site later, expressed shock over the incident and indicated there were 14 people in the helicopter.

TV visuals showed the badly damaged chopper in flames, possibly under the impact of the crash. Apparently, a major tragedy was averted as the helicopter fell at some distance away from a human habitation, averting possible mass casualties.

The accident site was a scene of despair with trees being reduced to broken pieces under the impact of the crash, flames from the chopper engulfing the wooden logs resulting in billowing smoke and personnel scurrying to douse the fire, including using buckets and water hose. What seemed to be some charred bodies were also seen lying around.

The mangled and burnt remains of the ill-fated IAF chopper were strewn along the site, even as rescue services personnel were seen carrying bodies in stretchers to be transported through waiting ambulances.

The accident site remained out of bounds for civilians.

Official sources in New Delhi said all the injured people on board the helicopter had been evacuated from the spot of the accident. Rawat was on his way to the Defence Staff College in Wellington.

Official sources in Coimbatore said four bodies had been retrieved and three people rescued from under the debris of the helicopter which crashed in Katteri-Nanchappanchathram area near here in the hilly Nilgiris district.

The helicopter, carrying a few senior officials, was on its way from Sulur in Coimbatore to DSC in Wellington where Rawat, along with Chief of Army Staff MM Naravane, was slated to participate in an event later, the sources added.

Medical teams from nearby Coimbatore, including burns specialists, have also been sent to Coonoor to treat the injured. Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Stalin will visit Coonoor and will leave for Coimbatore by air later in the day.

In a tweet, he said "I am deeply shocked & disheartened on hearing the army chopper with CDS General Bipin Rawat and 13 others has met with an accident near Coonoor." "I've instructed the local administration to provide all the help needed in rescue operations even as I'm rushing to the spot," he said.

(With agency inputs)

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Published on: Wednesday, December 08, 2021, 04:40 PM IST