The status of Gen. Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat, who was also onboard, was not known. An inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.
The helicopter which took off from Sulur air base, where they had a brief halt, was on its way to Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, Tamil Nadu.
Hospital team leaves for Wellington
A six member team from the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) left for Wellington on Wednesday afternoon to assist the medical team in the army hospital there, which is treating those rescued from the IAF chopper crash site.
CMCH Dean A. Nirmala said that a team comprising surgeons and physicians left for the Nilgiris with a police escort.
Ten beds each have been kept standby at CMCH and the Government Medical College and ESI Hospital, Coimbatore.
– Wilson Thomas
Rajnath likely to speak in parliament tomorrow
Army Chief Gen MM Naravane is presently briefing Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at South Block. Mr Singh is likely to give a statement in the Parliament tomorrow.
Stalin to rush to Coonoor
TN Chief Minister MK Stalin tweeted, “I am deeply shocked & disheartened on hearing the army chopper with CDS General Bipin Rawat and 13 others has met with an accident near Coonoor.
“I’ve instructed the local administration to provide all the help needed in rescue operations even as I’m rushing to the spot.”
Mr. Stalin will fly by a chartered flight at 4.45 p.m.
Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai: “I am deeply pained to hear the Army helicopter carrying the Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat meeting with an accident. I am trying to get more information,” Bommai told reporters in Bengaluru. “This is the most unfortunate incident. The nation is in a state of shock,” he added. (PTI)
4 people rescued
Four persons on board the IAF Mi-17 V5 helicopter have been rescued so far, Nilgiris Superintendent of Police Ashish Rawat confirmed. However, they had sustained severe burn injuries.
Confirming the rescue operation, Nilgiris Superintendent of Police Ashish Rawat told The Hindu that the four persons, who were rescued, have been admitted to the Ooty Government Hospital.
– Rohan Premkumar
Eyewitnesses near the crash site said they rushed out on hearing a loud sound in the afternoon. P. Krishnasamy, a resident of Najappan Sathiram in Kattery, Coonoor, said that he was at home when he heard the loud sounds of the helicopter blades.
“I ran out and saw the chopper climb steep from the valley below, before it clipped a tree and crashed,” he said.
Mr. Krishnasamy said that he saw people exit from the burning chopper, screaming for help. “As the fire was too big, we couldn’t approach [the site],” he said.
Another resident, P. Chandrakumar, said that helicopters heading to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington usually fly over the settlement, but that there was heavy cloud cover when the accident occurred.
– Coimbatore bureau
Rajnath briefs PM Modi about crash
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is monitoring the situation and a meeting of senior Defence Ministry officials is on. He has briefed PM Narendra Modi about the crash. He isn’t visiting the spot, according to official sources.
Mr Singh has asked the Air Force chief to visit the site, a defence source said.
Tamil Nadu CM M.K. Stalin will go to Coonoor on Wednesday evening in the wake of the helicopter crash. Mr. Stalin will fly by a chartered flight at 4.45 p.m.
“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,” the IAF tweeted.
The wreckage where a helicopter carrying Gen. Bipin Rawat and others crashed in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu
The helicopter which took off from Sulur air base, where they had a brief halt, was on its way to Defence Services Staff College in Wellington with 14 people onboard including some of his staff, it has been learnt.
The helicopter caught fire on impact on the ground and search and rescue efforts were immediately launched.
“Hoping for the safety of CDS General Bipin Rawat, his wife and others onboard the chopper. Prayers for speedy recovery,” tweeted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.