An Air Force chopper that had Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat and 13 others on board crashed in Tamil Nadu this afternoon, killing the Defence chief and 12 others.
In a tweet, the Air Force 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," it added. General Rawat's wife was among those on the chopper.
Videos of search and rescue operations were shared by news agency ANI.
Charred bodies were recovered from the site.
#WATCH | Latest visuals from the spot (between Coimbatore and Sulur) where a military chopper crashed in Tamil Nadu. CDS Gen Bipin Rawat, his staff and some family members were in the chopper.— ANI (@ANI) December 8, 2021
(Video Source: Locals involved in search and rescue operation) pic.twitter.com/YkBVlzsk1J
#WATCH | Latest visuals from the spot (between Coimbatore and Sulur) where a military chopper crashed in Tamil Nadu. CDS Bipin Rawat, his staff and some family members were in the chopper. pic.twitter.com/6oxG7xD8iW— ANI (@ANI) December 8, 2021
Locals were involved in the rescue operations.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to brief parliament on the chopper crash tomorrow. Mr Singh has already briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sources have said.