In a viral video released after India’s top general was killed along with 12 others on Wednesday, General Bipin Rawat’s helicopter is seen flying near the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu and vanishing into the mist.
The Indian Air Force Mi 17 V5 chopper’s final moments were captured on video before it collided with the mountains yesterday afternoon. A change in the sound stops witnesses in their tracks as the chopper takes off.
When witnesses look in the general direction, the chopper is not heard at all. Someone appears to inquire: “What happened? Did it fall or crash?” Another voice replies: “Yes”.
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When the chopper crashed on its way to Wellington from the Sulur Air Force Base in Coimbatore, General Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, and 11 others were killed.
Group Captain Varun Singh, the only survivor, is being treated for severe burns at a military hospital in Wellington.
The chopper, which had taken off at 11:48 am, was on its way down and would have landed in another ten minutes. At 12:22 pm, it was reported missing.
General Rawat was scheduled to speak to students and faculty at the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC).
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The chopper crashed about 10 kilometres from the nearest main road, forcing rescuers to walk to the accident site.
According to AFP, an eyewitness said he saw passengers fall from the helicopter before it crashed, and that one person crept out of the wreckage.
Today, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhary paid a visit to the crash site as investigations into the cause of the crash began.
Group Captain Varun Singh, the lone survivor, is being treated at a military hospital in Wellington, according to the IAF.
General Rawat and the others who died were remembered by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who led the nation in paying tribute to them.
Kritika and Tarini, General Rawat’s daughters, survive him and his wife.