As many as 13 of the 14 occupants of the Indian Air Force helicopter, which had Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat among others onboard, died in the tragic crash on Wednesday, a top district official said.
There was one survivor, a male, Nilgiris Collector SP Amrith told PTI.
“Thirteen of the 14 (occupants) have died. There is one male survivor,” he said without divulging details.
Meanwhile, leaders across the political spectrum, including Union minister Nitin Gadkari and former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, wished for the well-being of Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat after an Indian Air Force helicopter with him on board crashed on Wednesday near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu.
Several politicians, including senior ministers, wished for the well-being and safety of Rawat and others who were on board the helicopter.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Hoping for the safety of CDS General Bipin Rawat, his wife and others onboard the chopper. Prayers for a speedy recovery.”
Union minister Gadkari expressed shock over the helicopter crash. “I pray for everyone’s safety, wellbeing,” he tweeted.
Civil Aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said he was distressed by the news of the crash of the IAF helicopter carrying Rawat and other senior Army officials.
“Praying for their safety and well-being,” he said on Twitter.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin said he was deeply shocked and disheartened on hearing that the copter with Chief of Defence Staff Rawat and 13 others have met with an accident near Coonoor.
“I’ve instructed the local administration to provide all the help needed in rescue operations even as I’m rushing to the spot,” he said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “Very very sad to hear this. I pray for everyone’s safety.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “Extremely tragic news coming in from Coonoor. Today, the entire nation prays for the safety of those who were on board including CDS Bipin Rawat and his family members.”
Also praying for the speedy recovery of everyone who was injured, she said.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said he was deeply concerned by the reports of the IAF helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu.
“Praying for the safety and well-being of the Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his family and staff who were on board the reportedly crashed helicopter,” Kharge said on Twitter.
Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal prayed for the safety and well-being of the Chief of Defence Staff and all others on board the helicopter while former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh said he was extremely sad to see images of the crashed helicopter.
“Praying for the safety of all,” Singh tweeted.
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said, “Unspeakable tragedy: the crash of the helicopter of the Chief of Defence Staff, in which his family was travelling with him. Worrying unresolved questions include the reason for the crash, in good weather. Hoping for survivors. Meanwhile prayers for the victims and their families.” (PTI )