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IAF helicopter crashes in Tamil Nadu: CDS Bipin Rawat in critical condition; 13 dead

An Indian Air Force helicopter with Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat on board crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.

Thirteen of the 14 occupants have died in the mishap. General Rawat is currently undergoing treatment at a military hospital in Wellington. His condition is said to be critical. The helicopter crashed in Katteri-Nanchappanchathram area near Coonoor in the hilly Nilgiris district.

According to a PTI report, the chopper crashed in a forest area, reportedly due to poor visibility following heavy fog. The helicopter, carrying a few senior officials, was on its way from Sulur in Coimbatore to Defence Staff College in Wellington where Gen Rawat, along with Chief of Army Staff MM Naravane, was slated to participate in an event.

The IAF said a Court of Inquiry has been ordered into the accident, involving a Mi-17VH choppper that took from the Sulur IAF Station in nearby Coimbatore. 

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