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IAF chopper with CDS Bipin Rawat on board crashes in TN; 13 dead, says Nilgiris Collector

IAF chopper with CDS Bipin Rawat on board crashes in TN; 13 dead, says Nilgiris Collector

CDS Bipin Rawat, along with his wife, Defence Assistant, security commandos and IAF pilots were on board the chopper that crashed.

Photo Credit: Pramod Madhav Photo Credit: Pramod Madhav

An Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter carrying senior Defence officials crashed near Coonoor in Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday. Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, along with his wife Madhulika Rawat, Defence Assistant, security commandos and IAF pilots were on board the chopper that crashed.

According to the latest update, as informed by Nilgiris Collector SP Amrith to news agency PTI, as many as 13 of the 14 occupants of the chopper have died. There was one survivor, a male, he told the agency.

Additionally, a Cabinet Committee on Security meeting is scheduled to be held in New Delhi at 6:30 pm today. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be chairing the crucial meet.

Meanwhile, there was no immediate information on the condition of General Rawat.

The ill-fated chopper had fourteen people on board, including Brig LS Lidder, Lt Col Harjinder Singh, NK Gursewak Singh, NK Jitendra Kr, L/Naik Vivek Kumar, L/Naik B Sai Teja and Hav Satpal.

Confirming the crash, the Indian Air Force had tweeted, "An IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter, with CDS General Bipin Rawat on board,  met with an accident today near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. An Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident."

The mangled and burnt remains of the IAF chopper were strewn along the site, even as rescue services personnel were seen carrying bodies in stretchers to be transported through waiting ambulances.

The bodies recovered from the site of the crash were been taken to Military Hospital, Wellington in Tamil Nadu, according to reports.

With the crash news coming in, it was known that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh would be briefing the Parliament. Currently, he is monitoring the situation, according to ANI sources. A meeting of senior Defence Ministry officials is underway and the defence minister has briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the crash, the sources added.

Further, Union I&B Minister Anurag Thakur later added that information about the helicopter accident will be shared by the ministry concerned at an appropriate time.

“The entire information about the accident that has taken place will be shared by the concerned ministry at an appropriate time,” Thakur told reporters when asked about the helicopter crash.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin expressed shock on the incident and said that he has instructed the local administration to provide all the help needed in rescue operations.

Taking to Twitter, Stalin posted, "I am deeply shocked & disheartened on hearing the army chopper with CDS General Bipin Rawat and 13 others has met with an accident near Coonoor. I've instructed the local administration to provide all the help needed in rescue operations even as I'm rushing to the spot."

In later development, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai told reporters that as per preliminary information, CDS Rawat has been taken to hospital for treatment. "I am trying to gather more information on the incident," he had said.

WATCH: Visuals from the spot (between Coimbatore and Sulur) where a military chopper crashed in Tamil Nadu.

After the news of the crash, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari tweeted, " Shocked to hear about the tragic crash of helicopter with CoDS Shri Bipin Rawat ji on board. I pray for everyone's safety, wellbeing."

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also took to Twitter saying, " Hoping for the safety of CDS General Bipin Rawat, his wife and others onboard the chopper. Prayers for speedy recovery. "

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan also tweeted, "Received the news of an Army helicopter crash carrying CDS General Shri Bipin Rawat Ji and other senior Army officials in Tamilnadu. I am praying for their well-being and good health."