Helicopter crashes with Indian Chief of Defence Staff, his wife, 12 others


A helicopter carrying senior defence officials has crashed in the Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu in India on Wednesday.

According to Outlook India, the Chief of Defence Staff, Bipin Rawat, was also on board. According to top officials in Tamil Nadu, four have been found dead.


The 63-year-old chief of defence staff was travelling in a Russian-made Mi-17V5 chopper that “met with an accident today near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu”, the Indian Air Force said on Twitter.

Rawat is India’s first chief of defence staff, a position that the Indian government established in 2019, and is seen as close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He and his wife were on board along with other officers and were headed to the Defence Services Staff College when it crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, a senior army officer told AFP.

The air force did not say whether Rawat, 63, was injured in the accident.

India’s public broadcaster Prasar Bharati said three injured people have been taken to a hospital.

Videos broadcast on Indian news channels showed the helicopter in flames as local residents tried to douse it in a dense forested area near the college in Nilgiris district.

The Indian air force said an inquiry was underway into the accident.


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