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Video Editor: Sandeep Suman
CDS Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others died in an IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter crash on Wednesday, 8 December, the Indian Air Force has confirmed in a tweet.
Taking to Twitter, to pay his tribute to Bipin Rawat, PM Modi called him a "true patriot" and said that “India will never forget his exceptional service.”
Meanwhile, President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted that “the nation has lost one of its bravest sons.” The President also joined “the fellow citizens in paying tributes to each of those who died while performing their duty.”
An IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter, with Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife and staff, as well as other senior officials on-board, crashed in Tamil Nadu's Coonoor.
Describing Rawat's "untimely death" as an "irreparable loss to our Armed Forces and the country", Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has tweeted that he is "deeply anguished".
How Did This Happen?
The CDS, his wife, staff, as well as other senior officials were on board the chopper, which crashed after having taken off from Sulur in the Nilgiris, while it was heading to Wellington base.
The IAF has said that an inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.
Visuals from the site of the helicopter crash showed massive flames and locals helping with the immediate rescue operations.
Krishnaswamy, the first eyewitness to the crash who raised the alarm and informed the police, said that he saw the chopper crash into a tree, following which it caught on fire, with smoke engulfing the area.
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