Army helicopter carrying senior defense officials crashes in Tamil Nadu

a army helicopter carrying around 3-4 senior officials, including senior officers, crashed near Coonoor in the nearby hills Nilgiris Wednesday, police sources said.

The helicopter was en route from the IAF base in Sulur to the Defense Services College (DSC) in Wellington when it crashed, they said.

The incident happened at Nanjapanchathiram region in the middle of a thick haze and the first visuals showed the helicopter in flames. There was no immediate information about any casualties or injuries.

Official sources said all those injured aboard the Mi-17V5 helicopter were evacuated from the crash site.

The Chief of the Defense Staff was on his way to the Defense Staff College in Wellington.

There is no immediate information on the condition of Gen Rawat.

The IAF said a court of inquiry has been ordered into the crash.

One of the big questions facing the armed forces as well as the nation is how a helicopter carrying a very, very important person – the Indian Chief of Staff, General Bipin Rawat – crashed, resulting in the death of several people.

“Full checks of the helicopter would have been carried out. There was also reportedly a rescue helicopter. The weather conditions would have been checked. In that case, if the weather in Wellington was marginal, maybe they decided to make an attempt and then cancel it, “said a former Indian Air Force (IAF) official.

The official said a technical issue or the weather could have been the factor behind the crash.

According to him, if everything was normal, the only possibility is that, as the helicopter was close to Coonoor, it would have flown at low altitude and or could be thrown into the hill, to hide under the clouds.

The helicopter will have a black box and a study of it could shed more light on the cause of the crash.

At least four senior military officials were reportedly killed in an Indian Air Force helicopter crash in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu on Wednesday afternoon.

Residents who saw the helicopter crash assisted in the rescue operations. An eyewitness said there was haze, possibly due to the helicopter hitting a tree and falling. He said he reached the spot and saw that the helicopter was upside down and immediately caught fire.

Confirming General Rawat’s presence, the Indian Air Force tweeted: “An IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter, with General CDS Bipin Rawat on board, crashed today near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. ”

Two passengers were seriously injured. Drones are used to locate survivors.

Police said an investigation had been ordered to determine the cause of the crash.

The helicopter took off from Sulur Air Base and was heading for Wellington when it crashed.

Other people in the helicopter were Brigadier LS Lidder, Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitender Kumar, Naik Vivek Kumar, Naik B. Sai Teja, Havaldar Satpal and pilots.

The survivors were seriously injured and were transported to the Wellington Township Military Hospital.

The hospital is surrounded by a large contingent of police officers.

According to reports, four bodies were recovered from the crash site.

A former wing commander of the IAF told IANS that “according to the images broadcast on the news channels, the helicopter must have crashed with a strong impact and exploded.”

According to Tamil Nadu Health Secretary Dr J. Radhakrishnan, a special medical team has been dispatched to Coonoor to treat the injured.

TN’s chief minister could visit the injured in hospital, sources said.

(With entries from PTI and IANS)

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