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Tri-services team of Air Force, Army & Navy officers investigating Gen Rawat’s helicopter crash

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh briefs Parliament on the IAF chopper crash in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday with CDS Gen Bipin Rawat and others on board.

A tri-services committee comprising senior officials of the Indian Air Force, Army and Navy is investigating the tragic helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu in which Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other defence services personnel lost their lives on Wednesday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informed Parliament on Thursday.

The defence minister said that the tri-services team headed by Air Marshal Manavendra Singh reached Wellington on Wednesday and had already started their investigation into the crash of the ill-fated IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter.

Singh said the bodies of General Rawat and the others who died in the crash would be brought to Delhi by the evening. He said that the Chief of Defence Staff’s funeral would be conducted with full military honours. Similarly, the funeral of the other defence personnel who were killed in the crash would be carried out with appropriate military honours, he added.

He said that Group Captain Varun Singh the sole survivor in the crash was being treated at the Wellington hospital and had been put on life support systems.

Recounting the details of the tragic incident, the defence minister said that the helicopter was scheduled to reach Wellington at 12:15 on Wednesday but had at had crashed in a forested area in Coonoor at 11:48 am.

He said the local villagers were the first to reach the site and rescue teams had followed shortly to recover the injured and the bodies from the wreckage of the helicopter and shifted them to the Wellington military hospital.

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