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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to breif Parliament on Army chopper crash

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

New Delhi: Defence minister Rajnath Singh will brief parliament on the crash of an army chopper in the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu. The Chief of Defence Staff, Bipin Rawat, his staff and family members were on board the Mi-series chopper, which crashed in Coonoor, a spot between Coimbatore and Sulur.

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Four people are dead and another four who survived, have been taken to a hospital. Their identities are not known yet. News agency ANI reported that the chopper was carrying 14 people — nine of them passengers and five crew members.
Following army protocol, Mr Singh has already briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue, sources said.

Sources said Mr Singh, who is attending a meeting with senior officials of his ministry, will brief the Lok Sabha shortly. For now, he will not travel to Tamil Nadu and is monitoring the situation from Delhi, sources said.

The Indian Air Force has confirmed the crash. “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 tweet read.

Rescue and relief operations are in progress at the spot, which have been made difficult by the terrain. The Tamil Nadu government has sent senior officials to the crash site. A medical team from Ooty and experts from Coimbatore are rushing to the spot.

Former army chief General JJ Singh told sources that bodies recovered are charred, which is making identification difficult. Those rescued have sustained severe burn injuries.

The chopper had taken off from the army base in Coimbatore’s Sulur and was on way to Wellington in Udhagamandalam. General Rawat, it is believed, was to visit the Defence Services Staff College located there.

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The Mi series choppers are the workhorse of the Indian Air Force and are used in high-altitude operations. They are also used to ferry VIPs, including the Prime Minister.

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