Bhubaneswar: A video of the last moments of the Mi-17 helicopter carrying CDS Bipin Rawat and 13 others, which crashed yesterday in Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, has surfaced.

The clip was recorded by residents present near the scene of the accident.

Indian Chief of Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others died yesterday in a military helicopter crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu.

Gen Rawat was visiting the Defense Services Staff College Wellington in Nilgiri Hills to address the faculty and student officers of the Staff Course.

At around noon on Wednesday, an IAF Mi17V5 helicopter with a crew of four carrying the CDS and nine others encountered the tragic crash near Coonoor.

Of the 14, Group Captain Varun Singh, Director of Staff at the Defense Services Staff College, is currently undergoing treatment at Wellington Military Hospital.

Madhulika Rawat, Brigadier LS Lidder, Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitender Kumar, Naik Vivek Kumar, Naik B. Sai Teja and Havaldar Satpal were traveling with General Rawat.

Apart from them, two pilots, a Group Captain and a machine gunner were on board the ill-fated helicopter.

Singh, with his wife and seven members of staff, boarded at 8.47am on a flight to Delhi for the IAF base in Sulur near Coimbatore. They landed in Sulur at 11:34 am. From there, they boarded the Mi17V5 helicopter at 11:48 a.m. At 12:22 pm, air traffic control (ATC) lost contact with the helicopter, which crashed in a forest area about 7 km from Coonoor.

The IAF said a court of inquiry has been ordered into the crash. The report is expected in a month.

The mortal remains of all the deceased will be brought to Delhi on Thursday.

General Rawat, 63, became India’s first Chief of Defense Staff on January 1, 2020. The post was created to integrate the three services – Army, Navy and Air Force. The mandate of the CDS is to facilitate integration, ensure the best economic use of the resources allocated to the armed forces and standardize the procurement procedure.

Later, he was also appointed to head the new Department of Military Affairs.

On December 17, 2016, the government appointed him the 27th chief of staff of the armed forces. He took office on December 31, 2016, following the retirement of General Dalbir Singh Suhag.

General Rawat was also the principal military adviser to the Minister of Defense on all matters relating to the three services.

(with IANS inputs)

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