A military helicopter carrying chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat crashed in Tamil Nadu near the town of Coonoor on Wednesday, killing at least four people. Rawat was accompanied by his wife and 12 others.
“An IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter, with CDS Gen Bipin Rawat on board, met with an accident today near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. An Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident,” the Indian Air Force tweeted.
The Russian-made IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter was airborne from an Indian Air Force base in Sulur to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, where Rawat was scheduled to deliver a lecture.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the developments, and will also brief Parliament on the incident today.
General Bipin Rawat was appointed as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in late 2019. The position was set up with the aim of integrating India’s three services – the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
The Air Force said that Rawat had previously served as India’s Chief of Army Staff.