Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defense Staff of the Indian Armed Forces, was killed in a helicopter crash. The press service of the country’s Air Force reported about the disaster:
“An Air Force Mi-17V-5 helicopter with General Bipin Rawat on board crashed today near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. An investigation has been launched to establish the cause of the accident.”
Rajnath Singh, head of the Indian military, tweeted:
“I am deeply upset by the sudden death of the Chief of Defense Staff, General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other members of the armed forces as a result of a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu today. His untimely death is an irreparable loss for our armed forces and the country.”
According to ANI, among the 14 people on board, in addition to the chief of staff, were the wife of 63-year-old General Ravat, his assistant and special forces from the personal guard, servicemen of the Indian Air Force. The helicopter had just departed from the military base at Sulur and was heading for Wellington, less than 100 kilometers (62 miles) away. Five bodies of the dead were found at the site of his fall, several people with severe burns were taken to the hospital. Their names were not disclosed. The cause of the disaster is called unfavorable weather conditions.
General Rawat has become India’s first Chief of Defense Staff, since the position appeared only two years ago, in December 2019. The main task of the chief of staff is to coordinate the actions of all units: the Air Force, the Navy and the ground forces. The chief of staff also deals with the procurement of weapons and defense technology.