Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday made a statement in Lok Sabha and briefed the Parliament on the helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday that killed 13 of the 14 people on board, comprising Chief of Defence General Staff (CDS) Bipin Rawat and his wife.
He added that the mortal remains of the deceased in the incident will be brought back to Delhi on Thursday by an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft. Rajya Sabha observed a two-minute silence on CDS General Rawat, his wife, and other personnel who lost their lives in the crash.
The Mi-17VH helicopter, which took off from the Sulur IAF Station in nearby Coimbatore, crashed near Coonoor. The lone survivor of the crash, Group Captain Varun Singh, is currently undergoing treatment at a military hospital in Wellington, the Indian Air Force (IAF) said, adding that a Court of Inquiry has been ordered into the incident.
Black box of IAF chopper recovered
The black box of the IAF chopper has been recovered and taken away for further investigation. It was retrieved as authorities expanded the search area from 300 metres to 1 km from the accident spot, according to official sources.
The black box would provide vital data regarding the chain of events leading to the tragedy.
General Bipin Rawat's funeral tomorrow
Meanwhile, the mortal remains of CDS General Rawat and his wife along with those of the other persons killed in the crash are expected to arrive in Delhi by Thursday evening. The cremation of General Rawat and his wife is going to be done in Delhi Cantonment on Friday.
The bodies would be brought to his house on Friday and people would be allowed to pay their last respects from 11 am to 2 pm, after which the funeral procession will start from Kamraj Marg to Brar Square crematorium.
Army programmes cancelled
Meanwhile, Vice Chief of the Army Staff (VCOAS) Lieutenant General Chandi Prasad Mohanty has cut short his Qatar visit and is returning to Delhi, ANI reported. He proceeded on a two-day visit to the country on Wednesday, the Ministry of Defence had informed.
The Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, has also cancelled the Commandant's Parade slated to be held on Thursday, ahead of the final passing out parade, Col Himani Pant, Academy's Public Relations Officer said.
General Rawat, who was India's first CDS, was on a visit to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington to address the teachers and student officers of the Staff Course when the chopper he was travelling in crashed near Coonoor.
General Rawat was appointed as the country's first CDS on December 31, 2019. He was commissioned into the Indian Army in 1978.
A veteran of counterinsurgency warfare, General Rawat served in the most difficult turfs including the Northern and Eastern commands.
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