New Delhi: The Tri-Services Court of Inquiry into the helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu that killed former chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat and 13 others has ruled out mechanical failure, sabotage or negligence as a cause of the accident.
The IAF said the accident was due to the chopper’s “entry into the clouds due to unexpected weather change”. The Court of Inquiry analysed Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder, the Indian Air Force (IAF) said in a statement.
“The accident was a result of entry into clouds due to unexpected change in weather. This led to spatial disorientation of the pilot resulting in a Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT),” the Court of Inquiry said in preliminary findings.
The Court of Inquiry into the crash was headed by Air Marshal Manavendra Singh.
According to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), CFIT is defined as an unintentional collision with terrain (the ground, a mountain, a body of water, or an obstacle) while an aircraft is under positive control.
“Most often, the pilot or crew is unaware of the looming disaster until it is too late. CFIT most commonly occurs in the approach or landing phase of flight,” it says.
CDS General Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, Brigadier Lakhwinder Singh Lidder and 10 others died in the helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu on December 8.
The Indian Air Force Mi-17V-5 helicopter crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu shortly after it took off from Sulur Air Base in Coimbatore. The lone survivor, Group Captain Varun Singh, succumbed to injured a week later at a military hospital in Bengaluru.
General Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat were cremated at the Brar Square Crematorium in Delhi Cantonment on December 10. General Rawat and Madhulika Rawat are survived by their two daughters.
General Rawat had served as the Chief of the Indian Army from December 17, 2016, to December 31, 2019. He was appointed as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff on December 31, 2019. Madhulika Rawat, native of hahdol in Madhya Pradesh, was the president of Army Wives Welfare Association.