Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday (December 9) informed the Parliament that inquiry has begun into the helicopter crash that killed Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and 12 others, and that their bodies will be brought to the national capital in the evening.
In statement in Lok Sabha, Singh said the last rites of Rawat will be performed with full military honours.
Thirteen of the 14 people on board the helicopter, including CDS Rawat and his wife, died in the crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.
“Gen Rawat was going to Wellington on a scheduled visit. The chopper left Sulur airbase at 11:48 am and was to land at Wellington at 12:15 am. At 12:08 am, the Air traffic control at Sulur airbase lost contact with the chopper. Shortly after that, locals noticed fire at a forested patch near Coonoor where they later found the chopper’s wreckage,” Singh said, adding that rescue operations tried to recover the people from the crash site.
“Group captain Varun Singh, the lone survivor of the crash, is presently on life support at the Military Hospital in Wellington. All efforts are being made to save him,” Singh said in his statement.
Singh said the Air chief Marshall visited the crash site and Wellington hospital on Wednesday.
“IAF has set up a tri-service inquiry under Air Marshall Manvendra Singh, and the inquiry has already begun,” Singh said.
(With inputs from agencies)