'Spatial disorientation' of pilot led to crash that killed General Bipin Rawat, finds probe report

‘Spatial disorientation’ of pilot led to crash that killed General Bipin Rawat, finds probe report

New Delhi: The chopper crash on December 8 that killed Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and 13 others was due to the ‘spatial disorientation’ of the pilot, the preliminary findings submitted by the tri-services court of inquiry has found.

The court of inquiry into the Mi-17 V5 accident, headed by Air Marshal Manavendra Singh, analysed the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder besides questioning all available witnesses to determine the most probable cause of the accident.

It ruled out ‘mechanical failure, sabotage or negligence’ as a cause of the accident.

“The accident was a result of entry into clouds due to unexpected change in weather conditions in the valley. This led to spatial disorientation of the pilot resulting in Controlled Flight into Terrain,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement on Friday (January 14, 2022).

ALSO READ | Who was General Bipin Rawat – First CDS and counter-insurgency warfare hero?

The CFIT, notably, 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.

General Rawat, his wife Madhulika, his defence advisor Brigadier LS Lidder, staff officer to the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt Col Harjinder Singh and decorated pilot Group Captain Varun Singh were among 13 others killed in the crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu.

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