A military helicopter carrying Indian defence chief General Bipin Rawat crashed near the town of Coonoor in southern India on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
Five people have been confirmed dead in the incident, Indian reports revealed, adding that three people with severe burn injuries have been rescued so far while a search is on for the others.
However, there is no immediate information on the condition of General Rawat.
Two defence sources said they were currently trying to ascertain Rawat’s status. “We don’t know yet,” one of the sources told Reuters. Both declined to be named.
Visuals from the spot where an Indian Air Force chopper crashed in Tamil Nadu-a state in southern part of India.
India's Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his staff and some family members were in the IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter.#BreakingNews pic.twitter.com/Yp1LBap96k
— Asia Free Press (AFP) (@AsiaFreePress) December 8, 2021
There were fourteen people on board, according to sources. Rawat, his wife, defence assistant, security commandos and an IAF pilot were on board the Mi-series chopper when it crashed between Coimbatore and Sulur in Tamil Nadu, according to ANI news agency.
Rawat was appointed as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in late 2019.
The Air Force said that Rawat, who had previously served as India’s Chief of Army Staff, was traveling in an Mi-17V5 helicopter.
Official Word IN- Chopper crash involving India’s Chief of Defense staff and others on board
“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..” pic.twitter.com/zxv3rCgw66
— Meenakshi.B (@minakshibhanja1) December 8, 2021
“An inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident,” the Air Force said in a tweet.