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Helicopter with Indian defence chief on board crashes, 4 dead

An Indian Air Force helicopter with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on board crashed in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor on Wednesday.

Four people have been confirmed dead in the incident. There is no immediate information on the condition of General Rawat.

Three people have been rescued, so far, while a search is on for the others. There were fourteen people on board, according to sources, reports India Today.

The three who have been rescued suffered serious injuries and have been taken to the hospital at Wellington cantonment in Nilgiris district.

CDS Bipin Rawat, his wife, defence assistant, security commandos and an IAF pilot were on board the Mi-series chopper when it crashed between Coimbatore and Sulur in Tamil Nadu, ANI news agency reported.

Rawat was on his way to Defence Staff College in Wellington from the Indian Air Force base in Sulur near Coimbatore, as per sources. He left Delhi for Sulur earlier on Wednesday.

Visuals from the site of the Indian Air Force helicopter crash showed massive flames and locals helping with the immediate rescue operations. Bodies were seen downhill, ANI news agency reported. Several teams, including local military officers, reached the site for search and rescue operations.

The Indian Air Force confirmed the incident on Twitter and said an inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.

“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.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh have been briefed on the incident. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will brief Parliament on the crash shortly.