An Indian Air Force helicopter with Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat on board met with an accident on Wednesday near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, the IAF said, as four persons were killed in the mishap that happened reportedly due to low visibility due to foggy conditions.
However, there was no immediate information on the condition of Gen Rawat, even as the IAF said a Court of Inquiry has been ordered into the accident, involving a Mi-17VH chopper that took from the Sulur IAF Station in nearby Coimbatore.
Official sources in Delhi said all the injured people on board the helicopter have been evacuated from the spot of the accident.
The Chief of Defence Staff was on his way to the Defence Staff College in Wellington.
— DD News (@DDNewslive) December 8, 2021
Meanwhile, official sources in Coimbatore said four bodies have been retrieved and three persons rescued from under the debris of the helicopter which crashed in the Katteri-Nanchappanchathram area near Coonoor in the hilly Nilgiris district. There was no concrete information immediately on the number of persons travelling in the ill-fated chopper though official sources had earlier said 3-4 senior officials were among its occupants.
The helicopter, carrying a few senior officials, was on its way from Sulur in Coimbatore to DSC in Wellington where Rawat, along with Chief of Army Staff MM Naravane, was slated to participate in an event later.
The chopper crashed in a forest area, reportedly due to poor visibility following heavy fog, official sources said.
TV visuals showed the chopper in flames, apparently under the impact of the crash. Rescue personnel, along with Army personnel, were seen involved in clearing the area.