New Delhi [India], December 8 (ANI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday condoled the demise of General Bipin Rawat, India's first Chief of Defence Staff, who died today after a military chopper crashed in Tamil Nadu which killed 13 on board.
Taking to Twitter, Singh said, "Deeply anguished by the sudden demise of Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other Armed Forces personnel in an extremely unfortunate helicopter accident today in Tamil Nadu. His untimely death is an irreparable loss to our Armed Forces and the country."
Singh added that General Rawat had served the country with exceptional courage and diligence. "As the first Chief of Defence Staff, he had prepared plans for jointness of our Armed Forces."
Singh further said, "My heart goes out to the families of those who lost their loved ones in this accident. Praying for the speedy recovery of Gp Capt Varun Singh, who is currently under treatment at the Military Hospital, Wellington."
The Indian Air Force today informed that General Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board the Mi-17 V5 helicopter were killed after the aricraft crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu.
"With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident," the Indian Air Force (IAF) tweeted.
The helicopter crashed around noon shortly after it took off from the Air Force base in Sulur, Coimbatore, for Wellington in the Nilgiri Hills. The General was heading to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington to address the faculty and student officers of the Staff Course today.
The Indian Air Force has issued a list of names of General Rawat's staff who were on-board the crashed chopper. These include 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)