Group Captain Varun Singh, Sole Survivor of IAF Chopper Crash in TN, Passes Away

The chopper crash led to the untimely demise of the CDS, his wife, and 11 other personnel the same day.

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Group Captain Varun Singh, Sole Survivor of IAF Chopper Crash in TN, Passes Away

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Group Captain Varun Singh, who was the lone survivor of the Indian Air Force (IAF) chopper crash succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday, 15 December, the IAF confirmed.

"Varun is gone", Col (retd) KP Singh, GC Varun Singh's father, told The Quint, confirming the news of his son's demise.

"IAF is deeply saddened to inform the passing away of brave-heart Group Captain Varun Singh, who succumbed this morning to the injuries sustained in the helicopter accident on 08 Dec 21," the tweet by the Air Force said.

The IAF offered condolences to Group Captain Singh's family and said it "stands firmly with the bereaved family."


The Fatal Chopper Crash

An IAF Mi-17 V5 helicopter, which was carrying 14 defence personnel including CDS General Bipin Rawat, crashed in Tamil Nadu's Coonoor on 8 December, leading to the untimely demise of the CDS, his wife, and 11 other personnel the same day.

Group Captain Singh was accompanying the Chief of Defence Staff as a liaison officer. The crash took place after the chopper took off from the Sulur Army base in Coimbatore for the Defence Staff Services College in Wellington.

Singh, after the crash in Tamil Nadu's Nilgiris, had been put on life support at the Military Hospital in Wellington.

He had suffered 95 percent burn injuries and his father had told The Quint that "there are several (medical) complications."

Group Captain Singh was later shifted to the Command Hospital in Bengaluru on 9 December for further treatment.

Speaking to The Quint, Col (retd) KP Singh, GC Varun Singh's father, had said, "Nobody can quantify how badly he is injured, it is very dynamic. Doctors are monitoring his condition every hour."

PM Modi, Defence Minister Condole Singh's Demise

Mourning GC Varun's demise, PM Narendra Modi took to Twitter and said that Group Captain Singh had served the nation with "pride, valour and utmost professionalism."

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also reacted to the demise of a "true fighter who fought till his last breath."

The minister also offered his condolences with Group Captain Singh's family and friends.


From a Family Serving in the Forces

GC Singh hailed from a family of defence personnel who have served in all three forces – army, navy and air force.

His brother, Lt Commander Tanuj Singh, is currently an officer in the Indian Navy and his father, retd Col KP Singh, had served with the Army Air Defence.

“He had a goal at a very young age and he cleared the National Defence Academy (NDA) in his first attempt,” Akhilesh P Singh, the fighter pilot’s uncle, said.

GC Singh, a recipient of the prestigious Shaurya Chakra, had saved his Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter aircraft during an aerial emergency on 12 October 2020. The brave fighter pilot was conferred with the award on Independence Day earlier this year.

His demise has raised questions over the cause of the chopper crash that still remains unknown.

As the nation mourns the death of the IAF brave-heart, the Indian Air Force has constituted a tri-service court of inquiry to investigate the cause of the chopper crash that occurred on 8 December.

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