The mortal remains of four Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel and two Indian Army soldiers killed in a helicopter crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu earlier this week have been identified, according to news agency ANI.
In the horrific Mi-17V5 helicopter crash near Coonoor town on Wednesday, 13 of the total 14 officers and personnel on board were killed. General Bipin Rawat, India’s first chief of defence staff (CDS), his wife Madhulika Raje Singh Rawat, and the CDS’ defence assistant Brigadier LS Lidder were all killed.
Also Read | In pics | Tributes paid to General Bipin Rawat, others killed in chopper crash
Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan (pilot), Squadron Leader Kuldeep Singh (co-pilot), Junior Warrant Officers Rana Pratap Das and Arakkal Pradeep, Havildar Satpal Rai, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitendra Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar, and Lance Naik B Sai Teja were the other members of the crew.
According to ANI, the army also stated that the mortal remains of Lance Naik Vivek Kumar and Lance Naik B Sai Teja have been positively identified. According to the news agency, the IAF has planned air transport for them as well as the identified army soldiers.
“The mortal remains have been released to close family members this morning. Mortal remains will move by air for last rites with appropriate military honour. Wreaths will be laid at the Base Hospital, Delhi Cantonment prior to departure,” ANI cited an army official as saying.
“The process for positive identification of remaining mortal remains is continuing,” the official also said.
As their bodies were positively identified, Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, and Brigadier Lidder were cremated with full military honours at Delhi’s Brar Square Crematorium.
Group Captain Varun Singh, the sole survivor, is receiving life support at the IAF Command Hospital in Bengaluru. The investigation into the crash is being led by a three-star officer. Rawat was scheduled to speak to faculty and student officers at the prestigious Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) in Wellington.
Also Read | He was supposed to come home in January: Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan’s father
Officials said on Friday that family members of all ten personnel had arrived in the capital to identify the bodies. “The emotional well-being of family members is of utmost importance to us. So we are taking forward the identification process keeping in mind the sensitivities involved,” an official told PTI.