Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat have been killed along with 12 others when the Army chopper they were flying in crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, the IAF confirmed on Wednesday.
The tragic incident happened when the chopper was heading for Wellington from Sulur.
The IAF has issued a list of names of General Rawat’s staff who were also on board the crashed chopper.
They include Brigadier LS Lidder, Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitendra Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar, Lance Naik B Sai Teja and Havaldar Satpal.
Group Captain Varun Singh SC, Directing Staff at DSSC, who was also on board, is currently undergoing treatment at Military Hospital, Wellington, said the IAF.
With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident.— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) December 8, 2021
The IAF has ordered an inquiry into the accident.
General Rawat, the first Chief of Defence Staff, was an alumnus of St. Edward School, Shimla and the National Defence Academy.
He assumed office as the Chief of the Army Staff on 31 Dec 2016 and was elevated to his current role on January 1, 2020.
He had boarded an Embraer jet at Delhi at 8:47 am, and landed at Sulur at 11:34 am.
He then got on board the MI 17 V5 helicopter at 11:48 am. At 12:22 pm, Air Traffic Control said contact had been lost, according to sources. The Chief of Defence Staff was slated to deliver a lecture at the Staff College.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh earlier met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and briefed him about the accident. He also paid a visit to General Rawat’s residence.
The Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari has been asked to head to the accident site.