CDS Bipin Rawat was alive at Helicopter crash site in Coonor, Fireman shares details

New-Delhi: Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat  was found alive at the IAF Mi 17 helicopter that crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu killing 13 of the 14 crew onboard, said a fireman who was part of the rescue team.

The rescuer said the late CDS also told his name when he was being evacuated from the wreckage of the IAF helicopter, a report published in ToI.

Besides, CDS Bipin Rawat another person Group Captain Varun Singh, the Directing Staff at the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) in Wellington, Tamil Nadu was also brought out from the wreckage of the helicopter and now being treated in Bengaluru hospital.

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, Brigadier LS Lidder, the military advisor to the Chief of Defence Staff, and staff officer Lt Col Harjinder Singh, Wing Commander PS Chauhan, Squadron Leader K Singh, JWO Das, JWO Pradeep A, Havildar Satpal, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitender Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar and Lance Naik Sai Teja were killed when IAF Mi-17 helicopter crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris district yesterday.

Singh, along with his wife and seven staff, boarded a flight at Delhi for the Sulur IAF base near Coimbatore at 8:47. They landed in Sulur at 11:34 am. From there, they boarded the Mi17V5 helicopter at 11:48. At 12:22 pm, the Air Traffic Control (ATC) lost contact with the chopper, which crashed in a forest area around 7 km from Coonoor.

The IAF said a Court of Inquiry has been ordered into the accident. The report is expected in one month.

The mortal remains of all the deceased will be brought to Delhi today.

General Rawat, 63, took charge as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff on January 1, 2020. The position was created to integrate the three services Army, Navy and Air Force. The CDS is mandated to facilitate integration, ensure best economical use of resources allocated to the armed forces and bring uniformity in the procurement procedure.

Later, he was also appointed as the head of the newly-created Department of Military Affairs.

On December 17, 2016, the government had appointed him as the 27th Chief of the Army Staff. He took charge on December 31, 2016, after the retirement of General Dalbir Singh Suhag.

General Rawat was also the Principal Military Advisor to the Defence Minister on all tri-services matters.

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