Army chopper crash in TN: Death toll rises to 10...Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and CM MK Stalin to visit Nilgiris!

The death toll from the crash of an Indian Army chopper in Tamil Nadu has risen to ten, with six more people breathing their last with severe injuries. The chopper was crashed in the afternoon hours of Wednesday - December 8 at Katteri area, near Coonoor in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu. Shockingly, General Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Defence Staff, was also on board the chopper with his wife and his staff.

The condition of Bipin Rawat was yet to be revealed and the incident had swiftly drawn national attention as the rescue operations have been underway. The crashed chopper was identified to be a Mi-17 series helicopter that had capabilities of whirring against challenging weather conditions. However, the reports say that the chopper was crashed due to foggy weather, which raised public scrutiny over its safety standards. 

The chopper was crashed near the training camp at the Wellington Army Centre in Coonoor, between Coimbatore and Sulur. The chopper was carrying around 14 people including Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, Brigadier LS Lidder, Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, NK Gursewak Singh, NK Jitendra Kumar, Vivek Kumar, Sai Teja, and Havildar Satpal. Following the crash, the army and police officials have rushed to the spot and initiated rescue operations.

Four people have died on the scene after the crash and others had sustained severe injuries. They were rushed to Military Hospital in Wellington, Coonoor. However, it has now been reported that six other people had died which had taken the death toll to ten so far. The condition of Bipin Rawat is yet to be known and more officials had arrived on the spot. As more developments began to unfold, the crash has happened at 12.20 pm on Wednesday, ten minutes ahead of the landing. 

Amid the national attention, the Indian Air Force has said, "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." As the sequel of the crash, Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Irai Anbu had held a high-level meeting and Chief Minister MK Stalin has ordered the Nilgiris district administration to expedite the relief efforts and offer high standards of treatment to the officers who were injured. 

After the crash, a team of 15 Army officers had rushed to the spot and a team of ten doctors from the Coimbatore ESI Hospital has also been rushed to treat the officers. As a matter of utmost urgency, the hospital has arranged beds and facilities to accommodate the injured people. In Delhi, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the accident and he also briefed the  Union cabinet. 

It has been reported that Rajnath Singh will be visiting Nilgiris and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin and DGP C Sylendra Babu will also be visiting the spot. As per the preliminary reports, the chopper took off from Sulur at 11.47 am and it was scheduled to reach its destination by 12.30 pm. However, ten minutes ahead of the landing, it has crashed on a terrain due to bad weather and the smoke has billowed the area. The fire was rapid that the chopper was burning for over one hour, which disrupted the rescue works.

While the bodies of ten people have been recovered, the others were rescued with injuries and the bodies are yet to be identified and the bodies have been taken to Military Hospital. ANI has reported that local military officers have reached the location and were told that the local residents had taken two bodies with 80 per cent burns to a local hospital. As efforts are underway to check the identities of the body, the real cause of the crash is not yet known.