Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, onboard an Indian Air Force chopper who died after it crashed in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor on Wednesday, had survived a deadly crash in 2015. The incident happened during his tenure as a Lieutenant General (LG) in Nagaland.
Reportedly, General Rawat, along with three army personnel was in a Cheetah helicopter that crashed seconds after taking off from Rabgapahar helipad in Dimapur district on February 3, 2015. The chopper’s engine staled right after takeoff- about 20ft off the ground and it crashed, resulting in minor injuries to the officials on board.
On Wednesday, General Rawat along with his wife Madhulika and 11 other armed forces was on his way to Defence Staff College in Wellington. They took off from the IAF base in Sulur near Coimbatore, and the military helicopter crashed near Coonoor. The Chief of Defence Staff had left the Palam airbase in an IAF Embraer aircraft at 8:47 am and landed at Sulur airbase at 11:34 am. He took off from Sulur in a Mi-17V5 chopper at around 1148 am for Wellington. The CDS was scheduled to deliver a lecture at Defence Services Staff College in Wellington.
Those who were killed in the crash included- Brig LS Lidder, the military adviser to the Chief of Defence Staff, and staff officer Lt Col 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.
The IAF had confirmed about the accident around 2 pm, saying the Mi-17V5 helicopter with Gen Rawat on board met with an accident near Coonoor. It has already ordered an inquiry to ascertain the cause of the accident.