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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh briefs the Parliament on CDS General Bipin Rawat’s chopper crash: Here is what he said

Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh informed that the mortal remains of all IAF chopper crash victims will be brought back to Delhi by the evening today (9 December 2021) and that the CDS would be cremated with full military honour.

A day after the tragic demise of India’s Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, his Wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others in an IAF chopper crash in Coonoor, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh briefed both the Houses of the Parliament on the details of the incident.

The Defence Minister said that CDS Bipin Rawat was on his way to Wellington where he was to interact with Defence Staff college students when his helicopter met with the tragedy. The IAF Mi17 V5 helicopter had left the Sulur airbase at 11.48 am and was scheduled to land in Wellington at 12.55 pm. The Sulur airbase traffic control lost contact with the Indian Air Force chopper at around 12.08 pm, informed Rajnath Singh.

He added that subsequently, a few locals spotted a fire in the forest near Coonoor and rushed to the spot where they observed the wreckage of the military helicopter engulfed in flames. Rescue teams from the local administration in the vicinity reached the site and attempted to recover the survivors from the crash site.

All those recovered from the wreckage were rushed to the Military Hospital, Wellington.

Latest reports have confirmed that out of the total 14 persons on board the ill-fated helicopter, 13 have succumbed to their injuries, said the Defence Minister

The deceased include CDS Bipin Rawat’s wife Mrs Madhulika Rawat, his Defence Adviser Brig Lakhbinder Singh Lidder, Staff Officer Lt Col Harjinder Singh and nine other Armed Forces personnel including the Air Force helicopter crew. Their names are Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan, Squadron Leader Kuldeep Singh, Junior Warrant Officer Rana Pratap Das, Junior Warrant Officer Arakkal Pradeep, Havildar Satpal Rai, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitendra Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar, Lance Naik B Sai Teja.

Group Captain Varun Singh is on life support in the Military Hospital at Wellington and all efforts are being made to save his life.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh further informed the Parliament that the mortal remains of all IAF chopper crash victims will be brought back to Delhi by the evening today.

A tri-service investigation has been ordered into the IAF chopper crash incident. The probe will be led by Air Marshal Manavendra Singh, Air Officer Commander-in-Chief of the Training Command, the defence minister said, adding that the Chief of Defence Staff would be cremated with full military honour.

The Rajya Sabha observed a two-minute silence for CDS General Bipin Rawat, his wife, and other personnel who died in the helicopter crash near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, on Wednesday.

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