General Bipin Rawat, India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, his wife and 11 other armed forces personnel died on Wednesday after the military helicopter they were travelling in crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, the Indian Air Force said.
The lone survivor, Group Captain Varun Singh, is currently under treatment at a military hospital in Wellington, it said.
“With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident,” it said.
The IAF had confirmed about the crash around 2 pm, saying the Mi-17V5 helicopter with Gen Rawat on board met with an accident near Coonoor.
It has already ordered an Inquiry to ascertain the cause of the accident.
As Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Rawat was overseeing the implementation of an ambitious tri-services modernisation plan to bring synergy among the armed forces and enhance their overall combat capabilities.
Gen Rawat had served as the Chief of the Indian Army from December 17, 2016, to December 31, 2019.
He was appointed as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff on December 31, 2019.