India’s First officer of Chief Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, and 11 others lost their lives in a chopper crash when an Indian Air Force Mi-17V5 helicopter crashed in Coonoor of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.on its way to Wellington from the Sulur Air Force Base in Coimbatore.
The only survivor is Group Captain Varun Singh, who is being treated for severe burns at the military hospital in Wellington.
The chopper, which took off at 11:48 am, was descending and would have landed in 10 more minutes. It was reported missing at around 12:08 pm.
General Rawat was headed to the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) to address students and faculty.
The chopper came down around 10 kilometres from the nearest main road, forcing emergency workers to trek to the accident site.
A video shot by locals, a helicopter can be seen flying and then vanishing away in seconds. See Full Video
General Bipin Rawat is an alumnus of St Edward’s School, Shimla and the National Defence Academy. He was commissioned on 16 Dec 1978 into the Fifth Battalion of the Eleventh Gorkha Rifles of the Infantry, the Battalion which was Commanded by his father. While graduating from the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, he was awarded the coveted ‘Sword of Honour’.
For the distinguished service rendered and valour displayed over the span of over 42 years of his entire service career, General Bipin Rawat has been conferred several Presidential Awards which include the PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, YSM, SM and the VSM. Besides these, he has been awarded the Chief of Army Staff Commendation on two occasions as also the Army Commander’s Commendation. While serving with the UN in Congo, he was twice awarded the Force Commander’s Commendation.
General Bipin Rawat was appointed India’s first Chief of Defence Staff on 31 Dec 2019.