Black Box Of General Bipin Rawat’s Crashed Chopper Recovered

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today made a statement in both houses of Parliament.

New Delhi: Flight Data Recorder or the Black Box of the Mi-17V5 helicopter, which could contain crucial information about the events that led to the crash on Wednesday, was recovered Thursday morning from the wreckage of the chopper near Coonoor in Nilgiris disrict of Tamil Nadu.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today made a statement in both houses of Parliament on the chopper crash in Tamil Nadu that killed 13 people, including Chief Of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat.

A tri-service inquiry has been ordered by the Indian Air Force and it will be headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command, the Defence Minister said today. The funeral of General Rawat and his wife will take place tomorrow. Their bodies are expected to reach Delhi by a military plane today evening.

The helicopter crashed shortly after it took off from the Air Force base in Sulur at 11.45 am, Coimbatore. It was on its way to Wellington in Nilgiri Hills where General Rawat was to address a gathering at the Defence Services Staff College. Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhary, Air Force Chief visited the crash site this morning.

The Mi-17 V5 helicopter was making its descent and would have landed in 10 more minutes when it came down, barely 10 km from a road. The Cockpit Voice Recorder of the chopper has also been recovered, news agency ANI reported.

The only survivor of the mishap is Air Force Group Captain Varun Singh, who is being treated for severe burns. Group Captain Singh had gone to Sulur from Wellington to receive General Rawat. He is on life support, Rajnath Singh told parliament today.

Videos from the crash site showed wreckage scattered on a hillside and rescuers struggling through smoke and fire to locate bodies. Charred bodies were pulled out from under mangled metal and fallen trees.

Shortly after the incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, briefed by the Defence Minister, called a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security at his residence.

Tributes have poured in for the General from across the country and abroad. The Prime Minister described him as an “outstanding soldier” and a “true patriot”. The Defence Minister called it an “irreparable loss” to the country and the forces.

General Rawat, 63, took charge as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff in January 2020. The position was created to integrate Army, Navy and the Air Force. A former Army Chief, he was also appointed the head of the newly-created Department of Military Affairs.

The other defence personnel killed in the crash included Brigadier L S Lidder, Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, Wing Commander PS Chauhan, Squadron Leader K Singh, JWO Das, JWO Pradeep A, Havildar Satpal, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitender Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar and Lance Naik Sai Teja.

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