Death of a hero: Indian Chief of Defense Bipin Rawat dies in helicopter crash


In a shocking turn of events, an Indian army helicopter carrying senior defense officers including India’s Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat crashed near Coonoor in the nearby hilly Nilgiris district, in the state of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday, December 8, police sources said.

He was on his way from the Sulur IAF base to the Defense Services College (DSC) at Wellington when it crashed, they said.

Along with Rawat, there were apparently 14 people were on board including Gen Rawat’s wife Madhulika Rawat, Brig LS Lidder, Lt Col Harjinder Singh, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitendra Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar, Lance Naik B Sai Teja and Havaldar Satpal, according to sources.

There were reports that four bodies have been recovered, while three injured people were rescued from the crash site.

The mishap happened at Nanjappanchathiram area amid heavy mist and early visuals showed the helicopter in flames. There was no immediate information on possible casualties or injuries.

“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,” tweeted the Indian Air Force.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and briefed him about the accident.

Rawat was born in Pauri, Uttarakhand. His military career spans over 40 years, and he has been awarded for gallantry and distinguished service with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Yudh Seva Medal, Sena Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal and the COAS Commendation  on two occasions and the Army Commander’s Commendation

He attended Cambrian Hall School in Dehradun and the St. Edward’s School, Shimla. He then joined the National Defense Academy, Khadakwasla and the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, where he was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’.

He commanded a company in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir as a Major. As a Colonel, he commanded his battalion, the 5th battalion 11 Gorkha Rifles, in the Eastern sector along the Line of Actual Control at Kibithu.

He is the third officer from the Gorkha Brigade to become the Chief of the Army Staff, after Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and General Dalbir Singh Suhag. On his visit to the United States in 2019, General Rawat was inducted to the United States Army Command and General Staff College International Hall of Fame.