Army adopts Coonoor village, lauds people for help after chopper crash

Lt General Arun promised the army would send a doctor and a nurse to the village each month for regular health check-ups of residents and the villagers could also visit the military hospital in Wellington for a free consultation

Lieutenant General A Arun, General Officer Commanding, Dakshin Bharat Area visited the helicopter crash site on Monday and thanked the villagers since they were the first responders at the helicopter accident site. Pic: PTI

The Indian army has adopted the village of Najappa Sathiram, which was at the epicenter of rescue efforts of the victims of the helicopter crash in Kattery in Coonoor, which had killed CDS General Bipin Rawat and 12 others.

Praising the villagers for being like a “God” to the victims of the fateful crash, Lieutenant-General A. Arun, General Officer Commanding, Dakshin Bharat Area, said that if Group Captain Varun Singh was alive and battling for his life, the credit goes to their efforts in helping to rescue him alive.

On a visit to the crash site, Lt. General Arun thanked the villagers saying, “Many of you helped… police and army said that but for the help of the villagers, the 14 could not have been moved to hospital on time… the Air Force officer is alive and battling (for life at a Bengaluru hospital)… if he is there (alive) you are the reason,” he said, adding, saving a life was priceless, said media reports.

Also read: Condition of IAF chopper crash survivor Varun Singh ‘fluctuating’

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Further, he added that the villagers were the first responders to the accident site, and had even brought their own household items to help douse the flames and carry the mortal remains of the officers from the wreckage as well. They had also carried the officer who survived and who is recuperating in hospital, he said. “So you were like God for those 14. Thank you very much,” Lt. General Arun said while addressing the local people, said an Economic Times report.

He also announced that a shed would be constructed for the village to enable its residents to hold gatherings and functions. Lt. General Arun also handed over cash rewards of ₹5,000 each to two persons who first witnessed the crash and immediately notified the police and fire and rescue services. He also promised that the army would send over a doctor and a nurse to the village each month for regular health check-ups of local residents. And the villagers could also visit the military hospital in Wellington for a free consultation, he said.

“The general officer distributed blankets, solar emergency lights and rations to the villagers and announced the adoption of the villagers of Nanjappa Sathiram by Headquarters, Dakshin Bharat Area,” said a press release from the Madras Regimental Center (MRC).

Earlier, the Lieutenant General, had addressed a gathering at Nagesh Barracks Square in MRC in Wellington, and thanked the Tamil Nadu government, particularly Chief Minister M K Stalin and secretaries of various departments over the rescue operations at the crash site. The officer appreciated the role of police, fire and rescue, electricity and revenue departments as well.

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