Coonoor : An Army helicopter carrying senior defence officials, including chief of defence staff Bipin Rawat, his staff and family members on board, crashed at Coonoor in Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday killing four on the spot. A search and rescue operation has been launched from nearby bases, sources confirmed.
According to reports, 14 senior defence officials were on board and the Mi-series chopper was flying from Sulur Airbase to Wellington. Three officials have been rescued so far while a search is on for the fourth person, an official said. The injured have been taken to Wellington cantonment in Nilgiris.
Visuals from the site of the IAF helicopter crash showed massive flames and locals helping with the immediate rescue operations. Several teams are at the site carrying out search and rescue operations. Local military officers have reached the location and were told that locals have taken two bodies with 80 per cent burns to a local hospital while more bodies were seen downhill, as per media reports.
The Indian Air Force issued a statement confirming the crash and the presence of CDS Rawat on board. “An IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter, with CDS Gen 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 IAF said.