Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat died on 8 Dec 2021, after an Air Force helicopter carrying him and 13 others crashed shortly after take-off in Tamil Nadu.
General Rawat’s wife Madhulika Rawat was killed.
The crash took place shortly after the Russian-made Mi-17 V5 chopper took off from the Air Force base in Sulur, Coimbatore, for Wellington in the Nilgiri Hills.
The helicopter was already making its descent and would have landed in 10 more minutes. It came down around 10 km from the nearest road, forcing emergency workers to trek to the accident site, said news agency AFP.
Reports of the crash emerged around 12.20 pm.
Videos showed wreckage scattered on a hillside and rescuers struggling through thick smoke and fire to locate bodies. Charred bodies were pulled out by locals and cops from under mangled metal and fallen trees.
Gen Bipin Rawat chopper crash LIVE updates: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday will brief Parliament on the tragic IAF chopper crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, which killed 13 of the 14 people onboard, including Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, and his wife Madhulika Rawat.
Group Captain Varun Singh, decorated with the Shaurya Chakra on Independence Day this year, was the lone survivor and is currently undergoing treatment for injuries at the Military Hospital in Wellington.
General Rawat, 63, was on his way to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington where he was to deliver a lecture. His wife, president of the Defence Wives Welfare Association, was accompanying him along with members of the CDS staff. The crash happened at a distance of about 10 km from the helipad where it was to land.
General Rawat and his wife will be laid to rest at Delhi Cantt on Friday.
First CDS, Rawat was one of the most celebrated soldiers of his time
Belonging to a family of military officers and one of the most celebrated soldiers of his time, General Bipin Rawat took over as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) on January 1, 2020 – the first to occupy the post that made him the country’s foremost military officer. Since his youth he was known for two things the most, the ability to come up with ideas, and not being shy to express them.
As CDS, he ranked above the other four-star military officers heading the Navy, Air Force and Army, headed the Department of Military Affairs in the Defence Ministry, carving out responsibilities that were with the Department of Defence till then, and was the Principal Military Advisor to the Defence Minister on all matters related to the forces.
Madulika Rawat Wife Of General Bipin Rawat
Mrs Madhulika Rawat was the President of AWWA (Army Wives Welfare Association) and wife of Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat. She worked for the welfare of wives, children and dependents of Army personnel. AWWA is one of the largest NGOs in India. Madhulika Rawat had been a part of many welfare programmes and campaigns that aid the Veer Naris (Army widows) and differently-abled children.
Madhulika Rawat had been a catalyst in empowering the Army wives, encouraging them to take courses in tailoring, knitting and bag making along with beautician courses and making `Cakes and Chocolates’ to make them financially independent. She also promoted the Health Awareness and Well Being of its members.