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General Bipin Rawat, wife and 11 others die in a tragic helicopter crash

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

The copter carrying Gen Rawat and his entourage crashed in apparently foggy conditions, killing the 13 people on board, the IAF and other officials said. One person survived the crash and is being treated at a hospital.

“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,” the IAF said in a tweet.

Rawat was on a visit to Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington to address the faculty and student officers of the staff course when the fatal mishap happened.

Group Captain Varun Singh SC, Directing Staff at DSSC and the sole survivor, was undergoing treatment for injuries at the Miltary Hospital, Wellington, IAF added.

“Deeply anguished by the sudden demise of Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other Armed Forces personnel in an extremely unfortunate helicopter accident today in Tamil Nadu. His untimely death is an irreparable loss to our Armed Forces and the country,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.

“General Rawat had served the country with exceptional courage and diligence. As the first Chief of Defence Staff he had prepared plans for jointness of our Armed Forces,” Singh added.

Earlier, the Nilgiris Collector SP Amrith confirmed to PTI that 13 persons were killed in the crash while there was one survivor. The IAF said a Court of Inquiry has been ordered into the accident, involving a Mi-17VH helicopter that took off from the Sulur IAF Station in nearby Coimbatore.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi about the crash and the IAF chief has been asked to reach the site.

Singh also visited the residence of Rawat in the national capital and spoke to his daughter.

The mortal remains of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and his wife along with other Armed Forces personnel killed in the chopper crash expected to arrive in Delhi by today evening.

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