India / CDS Gen Bipin Rawat chopper crash turns spotlight on high-profile military air mishaps

Zoom News : Dec 08, 2021, 09:45 PM
New Delhi : The country's first Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat is no more. He along with his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 other officers and associates were killed in a helicopter crash that took place in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu today. Air Force Group Captain Varun Singh survived the accident. He is undergoing treatment in the hospital. This incident has also forced to recall past incidents involving military officers.

Such a high-profile accident in the army has been seen after almost 58 years. Prior to today's Coonoor incident, an Indian Air Force helicopter crashed near Poonch on 22 November 1963. In this accident, many senior army officers lost their lives. The officers killed included Lt Gen Daulat Singh, Lt Gen Bikram Singh, Air Vice Marshal EW Pinto, Major General KND Nanavati, Brigadier SR Oberoi and Flight Lieutenant SS Sodhi.

What did the then Defense Minister say in Parliament on the Poonch incident?

Giving a statement in Parliament on the chopper crash in Poonch, the then Defense Minister YB Chavan had said, "In the death of these officers, our defense forces have lost very distinguished, capable and promising leaders. His leadership has contributed a lot in the past, especially Lt Gen Daulat Singh and Lt Gen Bikram Singh and in particular Air Vice Marshal EW Pinto has done a great job in the past air exercises. He had said that in his death, we feel that we have lost a very valuable thing.

Devon Crash in 1952

CDS Rawat's helicopter crash is reminiscent of the Devon Crash of February 1952 which involved top officials of the Indian Army including two future chiefs. Lt Gen SM Srinagesh and Major General KS Thimayya, who survived the accident, both later became Army Chiefs, thankfully there were no casualties. Major General SPP Thorat who later became Eastern Army Commander, Major General Sardanand Singh, Major General Mohinder Singh Chopra and Brigadier Ajaib Singh were also on board the Devon aircraft.

Similar incident happened in Bhutan in 1993 and Poonch in 2019

After this, in May 1993, a Mi-8 helicopter crashed in Bhutan. Eight senior army officers were involved in this. In which the then Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Jameel Mahmood was also involved. Apart from this, former Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Ranbir Singh and eight others were injured in a Dhruv Advance Light Helicopter crash in Poonch sector in October 2019.