'CDS Chopper Crash Due to Pilot Disorientation After Sudden Weather Change': IAF

The Court of Inquiry ruled out mechanical failure, sabotage or negligence as a cause of the accident, the IAF said.

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<div class="paragraphs"><p>The Tri-Services Court of Inquiry, in its preliminary findings, had analysed Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder.</p></div>

A Tri-Services Court of Inquiry into the helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu that killed the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and 13 others, in its preliminary findings, has "ruled out mechanical failure, sabotage or negligence as a cause of the accident," the Indian Air Force (IAF) said on Friday, 14 December.

The Court of Inquiry had analysed Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder.

"Accident was a result of entry into clouds due to unexpected change in weather. This led to spatial disorientation of the pilot resulting in Controlled Flight into Terrain. Based on its findings, Court of Inquiry has made certain recommendations which are being reviewed," the IAF said.

What Had Happened?

On 8 December, General Bipin Rawat, his wife, and 12 others died as their helicopter crashed while making a descent amid bad weather. General Rawat was headed to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington in Tamil Nadu. The accident site showed trees reduced to broken branches under the impact of the crash, and flames from the chopper engulfing the wooden logs, which resulted in billowing smoke. Locals and rescue workers scurried to douse the fire.

Group Captain Varun Singh, the only person to have survived the Mi-17V5 chopper crash, succumbed to his injuries on 15 December.

On 9 December, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informed the Parliament that the helicopter had taken off from the Sulur Air Base at 11:48 am and was expected to land at Wellington by 12:15 pm. The Air Traffic Control at Sulur Air Base lost contact with the helicopter at approximately 12:08 pm.

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