India’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others were killed in a helicopter crash in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
It was gathered that the 63-year-old was traveling with his wife and other senior officers in the Russian-made Mi-17 chopper, which came down in hills near near it’s destination at Coonoor city on Wednesday morning.
The reason for the crash was not immediately known and authorities said they have opened an investigation into the incident.
The Indian Air Force said one officer, Group Captain Varun Singh, survived the crash and is being treated in a military hospital.
The Air Force said it had ordered an investigation into the accident, which happened in foggy weather. A cabinet security committee is holding an emergency session, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Twitter, President Modi said: “[Gen Rawat] brought with him a rich experience of serving in the Army. India will never forget his exceptional service.
“A true patriot, he greatly contributed to modernising our armed forces and security apparatus. His insights and perspectives on strategic matters were exceptions. His passing away has saddened me deeply.”
“As India’s first CDS, Gen. Rawat worked on diverse aspects relating to our armed forces including defense reforms. He brought with him a rich experience of serving in the Army. India will never forget his exceptional service.”
The president added that “It’s deeply painful for me to learn of the loss of lives in the chopper crash. I join the fellow citizens in paying tributes to each of those who died while performing their duty. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families.”
KanyiDaily had also reported how Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, General Ibrahim Attahiru is dead in a plane crash along with other military officers while on an official trip to Kaduna State.