An unfortunate tragedy unfolded in the Southern Indian region of Coonoor when an Indian army helicopter carrying decorated military personnel including India's Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat crashed in the Nilgris district of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday, December 8 afternoon. The Indian Air Force (IAF) confirmed the accident in a tweet and noted that an investigation has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the same.
A total of 14 people including Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife, a defense assistant, security commandos, and an IAF pilot were onboard the Mi-17V5 helicopter. According to India Today, the crash claimed 11 lives so far. The identities of the deceased, however, were not able at the moment. According to ANI, Karnataka CM, Basavaraj Bommai noted said in a statement that Gen Bipin Rawat has been taken to hospital for treatment.
What caused the helicopter crash?
According to The Times of India, the chopper in question took off from Sulur air force station around 11:50 am on Wednesday and crashed somewhere within the next 30 minutes falling into a jungle close to a tribal settlement near Kattery, which is around 7 km from Coonoor and 10 km from the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington. Preliminary reports suggest that bad weather might be a major cause of the accident. Further reports are yet to be revealed on the same, awaiting an investigation into the crash.
Rescue teams faced problems reaching the site of crash
Given the uneven terrain and thick vegetation in the area, the rescue teams had a hard time reaching the site of the crash. There was no pathway to the accident spot and the army personnel had to create one to reach the site of the crash. According to The Times of India, tribals told the police that they were used to army choppers frequenting the area so they didn't pay heed at first, But only when they saw smoke and fire arose from the site, they realized that a helicopter has crashed.