Indian CDS was alive when extricated from wreckage along with lone survivor

Indian CDS was alive when extricated from wreckage along with lone survivor

Indian CDS was alive when extricated from wreckage along with lone survivor

Written by Zulfick Farzan

09 Dec, 2021 | 11:24 am

(New Delhi); Indian Chief of Defence Staff, the late General Bipin Rawat was alive and able to say his name when he was extricated from the wreckage of the Mi-17V5 chopper along with another passenger, later identified as Group Captain Varun Singh, said a senior leading fireman who was among the first to reach the crash site near Coonoor on Wednesday (8).

In the latest development, a team of Tamil Nadu Forensic Science Department headed by Director Srinivasan had arrived at the crash site near Kattery in Coonoor for investigations.

The Uttarakhand government declared a three-day state mourning over the death of Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash.

General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others were killed in a helicopter crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.

Belonging to a family of military officers and one of the most celebrated soldiers of his time, General Bipin Rawat took over as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) on January 1, 2020 – the first to occupy the post that made him the country’s foremost military officer. Since his youth he was known for two things the most, the ability to come up with ideas, and not being shy to express them.

As CDS, he ranked above the other four-star military officers heading the Navy, Air Force and Army, headed the Department of Military Affairs in the Defence Ministry, carving out responsibilities that were with the Department of Defence till then, and was the Principal Military Advisor to the Defence Minister on all matters related to the forces.

The bodies of those who died in the chopper crash were brought to the Madras Regimental Centre from Military Hospital, Wellington on Thursday (9).

Courtesy : Time of India

The Flight Recorder, more popularly known as ‘Black Box’, of the ill-fated Indian Air Force helicopter that crashed near here on Wednesday, killing Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat and 12 others, has not yet been recovered and officials have expanded the area of search, police sources said.

The sources added the search area has been expanded from 300 metres to one km from the accident spot by the Defence officials.

The black box would provide crucial data on the chain of events leading to the tragedy on the hills on Wednesday when the 63-year old Rawat, the country’s first CDS, his wife and 11 others were killed when the Mi-17VH helicopter they were travelling in crashed and went up in flames, leaving only one survivor.

The copter carrying General Rawat and his entourage crashed in apparently foggy conditions, killing the 13 people on board, the IAF and other officials said.

The Mi-17V5 helicopter that crashed Wednesday had flown more than 26 hours without a snag after it was last serviced, according to sources. It belonged to the 109 Helicopter Unit based at the Sulur air base near Coimbatore.

No system malfunction or snag was reported in the last 2-3 sorties of this particular helicopter, sources said, adding “its history was clear, and there had been no technical failure”.

The Mi-17V5 is considered one of the “safest” and “most modern” military transport helicopters, a retired IAF officer said. “One must wait for the detailed investigation, but the past record of the helicopter model shows it is impeccable and 100% reliable.”

Group Captain Varun Singh, the lone survivor of the helicopter crashWednesday, is in critical condition at the Military Hospital in Wellington.

A year ago, he had a close call when a Light Combat Aircraft that he was flying developed system failure, resulting in total loss of control. Going “beyond the call of duty”, he managed to land the aircraft and for this “act of exceptional gallantry”, he was awarded the Shaurya Chakra on Independence Day in 2021.

Here is the full list of people who died in the crash apart from Gen Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat:
1. Brig LS Lidder
2. Lt Col Harjinder Singh
3. Wg Cdr PS Chauhan
4. Sqn Ldr K Singh
5. JWO Das
6. JWO Pradeep A
7. Havildar Satpal
8. Naik Gursewak Singh
9. Naik Jitender Kumar
10. Lance Naik Vivek Kumar
11. Lance Naik Sai Teja

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