Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], December 8 (ANI): The new Durbar Hall inauguration event at Maharashtra Raj Bhavan which was to be attended by President Ram Nath Kovind as the chief guest is postponed due to the crash of the military chopper which was carrying Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and 13 other persons, said Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
The inauguration was to be held at the hands of President Ramnath Kovind today.
The Governor said the decision to postpone the inauguration was taken after discussions with the President in the wake of a serious accident involving a defence helicopter.
The Governor informed about this in front of the invitees who were especially present for the ceremony.
A total of thirteen out of 14 occupants of the Indian Air Force military helicopter, which was carrying Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and had crashed on Wednesday near Coonor near Tamil Nadu's Nilgiri hill district, have been confirmed dead.
The identities of the bodies will be confirmed through DNA testing, according to sources.
While an investigation has been ordered, the government is likely to make a statement in Parliament on Thursday on the crash of the IAF's Mi-17V5 helicopter carrying CDS Rawat, his wife, and other military personnel. The aircraft was on its way from Sulur IAF base in Coimbatore to Defence Staff College in Wellington.
Earlier Defence minister Rajanath Singh briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the crash, according to sources.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari has also rushed to the crash site, according to sources.
Bodies recovered from the site of the chopper crash were taken to Military Hospital, Wellington.
Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin has expressed shock at the incident and said he has instructed the local administration to provide all the help needed in rescue operations. He is also slated to reach the site of the crash.
Earlier, Tamil Nadu Forest Minister K Ramachandran informed that five people on board the chopper have died. "I have reached here (chopper crash site) on the instructions of the Chief Minister. Out of the 14 people on board, five people have died and the situation of two others is critical. Rescue operation is underway," Ramachandran said.
The Indian Air Force has issued a list of names of General Rawat's staff who were also on-board the crashed chopper. Apart from CDS General Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat, Brigadier LS Lidder, Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, NK Gursewak Singh, NK Jitendra Kumar, L/NK Vivek Kumar, L/NK B Sai Teja and Hav Satpal are among those on board the aircraft.
The IAF has ordered an inquiry into the accident. (ANI)