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Fatal Wellington Helicopter Crash: Which Took Away India’s Brave Sons

On Schedule Visit to The Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, Nilgiris District, Tamil Nadu by Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM, ADC given accompany by Group Captain Varun Singh (SC) the Directing Staff(AIR), Mrs Madhulika Rawat, Brigadier LS Lidder (SM, VSM), Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, Team of Special Force, Parachute Regiment Personal Security Officer (PSO) and Indian Air Force (IAF) the Knights No 109 HU (Helicopter Unit) Squadron Crew members.

The Purpose of CDS General Bipin Rawat was to address the faculty and student officers of the staff course at The Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington.

Here Is The Manifest Of Helicopter Tail Number ZP 5164*

Official Personnel with Chief of Defence Staff

  • Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Laxman Singh Rawat PVSM UYSM AVSM YSM SM VSM ADC
  • Mrs Madhulika Rawat (wife of CDS)
  • Brigadier LS Lidder (SM, VSM) Defence Advisor of CDS
  • Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, Staff Officer of CDS
  • Group Captain Varun Singh (SC) as Directing Staff(AIR) from DSSC

Team of Personal Security Officer (PSO)

  • Lance Naik (L/Nk) Vivek Kumar (1 PARA SF)
  • Lance Naik (L/Nk) B Sai Teja
  • Naik (Nk) Jitendra Kumar (3 PARA SF)
  • Naik (Nk) Gursewak Singh (9 Para SF)
  • Havaldar Satpal Rai

Indian Air Force (IAF) the Knights No 109 HU (Helicopter Unit) Squadron Crew members

  • Wing Commander (Wg Cdr) PS Chauhan (Pilot)
  • Squadron leader (Sqn Ldr) K Singh (Co-Pilot)
  • Junior Warrant Officer (JWO) Rana Pratap Das (Crew Member)
  • Junior Warrant Officer (JWO) Pradeep A (Crew Member)
MI-17 V5 Helicopter Specification
MI-17 V5 Helicopter Specification (via Internet)

Timeline:

Here is the base timeline of the official schedule of CDS General Bipin Rawat visit to Wellington and Incident that occurred in Wellington – Coonoor, Nilgiri Mountains, are as followed below;

Took an Early Morning 0900 IST (09:00 am IST) Special Flight Embraer Legacy 600 aircraft (K3602) called Vayudoot as per manifest from Delhi Wednesday, December 8th, 2021 to Sulur Air Force Base, Tamil Nadu and Landed 1135 IST (11.35 am IST)

Get onboarded MI 17 V5 Helicopter with IAF 109 HU personnel at 1145 IST (11:45 am IST) and helicopter took off at 1148 IST (11:48 am IST) for Wellington Gymkhana Helipad, Wellington

The Flight Route was 30 Knot (55 Km) as per sources, and it might take an approx 30 minutes to reach Wellington Gymkhana Helipad at around 1215 IST (12:15 pm IST)

Lost Contact with ATC at around 1208 IST (12:08 pm IST)

Initial reports of the crash emerged around 1220 IST (12:20 pm IST) by locals peoples

Helicopter Reported missing at around 1222 IST (12:22 pm IST)

Search and Rescue (SAR) operation launched at 1225 IST (12:25 p.m IST) by Local Officials

On Schedule Visit to The Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, Nilgiris District, Tamil Nadu.

Total 14 Official Personnel of MI 17 V5 Helicopter of Indian Air Force were on board.

At 1353 IST (01:53 pm IST) Indian Air Force (IAF) confirmed over Twitter about accident happened in Coonoor, Nilgiri Mountains near Wellington.

SAR (Search and Rescue) operation been continued until 1525 IST (3:25 pm IST) by Fire and Rescue Services personnel who trying to manage to reach the helicopter crash location after few difficulties, as the location of crash was 500 meters from a major road and there was no clear path of site to reach, also as per sources reported the crash victims had been burnt beyond recognition.

As of initial rescue, 11 personnel were confirmed died due to extensive burn and 3 were missing, including CDS General Bipin Rawat.

As per report, CDS General Bipin Rawat was alive when SAR team found at crash site and taken to hospital, but unfortunate to Indian people He did not make to hospital and died on way to hospital ’cause of around 90% burn. There were total three survivors alive on crash site and taken to hospital including CDS General Bipin Rawat, Group Captain Varun Singh and unconfirmed third individual which yet not release any details by officials.

At 1803 IST (06:03 pm IST) official release given by Indian Air Force for confirmation of death of 13 Personnel Including CDS General Bipin Rawat

Killed by uncertain incident, yet to confirm cause of incident. Total 13 Personnel Including CDS General Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat, Official Staff, team member of PSO for CDS and Crew member of 109 HU have been killed in helicopter crash.

All crash personnel, including CDS General Bipin Rawat been recovered and Sole Survivor of Group Captain Varun Singh is being treated at Wellington Military Hospital.

Lone Survivor is Indian Air Force (IAF) Officer Group Captain Varun Singh, been shifted to Wellington Military Hospital and a six member special medical team from Coimbatore is attending treatment as his body is burn 60 per cent in crash and later 9th December 2021 shifted to the Command Hospital Air Force, Bangalore. And all possible medical treatment is being taken care by Doctors.

IAF has constituted a tri-service Court of Inquiry to investigate the cause of the tragic helicopter accident on 08 December 2021.

Sole Survivor, Group Captain Varun Singh (SC)

  • Indian Air Force (IAF) Officer Group Captain Varun Singh (SC) is the Directing Staff(AIR) at The Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington
  • On August 15, 2021, Group Captain Varun Singh conferred Shaurya Chakra (SC) by President of India in recognition of an act of gallantry on October 12, 2020 for displaying exemplary composure and skill when his Tejas aircraft developed the technical snag during a sortie.

“He correctly identified the failure and initiated a descent to lower altitude for landing. While descending, passing 17,000 feet (5.18 km), three out of four channels of the flight control system failed and led to total loss of control of the aircraft. This was an unprecedented, catastrophic failure that had never occurred. There was a rapid loss of altitude while in usual altitude, the aircraft pitched up and down viciously going to the extremities of G limits. He encountered G up to -3.5, which in itself is life endangering with the threat of permanent eye damage,” the citation said.

  • He completed schooling from The Army Public School in Chandimandir in Haryana.
  • Furthermore, he Joined National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla Pune in Maharashtra.
  • After NDA, he Joined Air Force Academy, Dundigal Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh (Now in Telangana).
  • After graduating from Air Force Academy (AFA), Dundigal he joined India Air Force as Fighter Pilot.
  • He was a “very average student in school academic, sports, and other co-curricular and barely scored first division in 12 class and passionate in aeroplanes—aviation.” at that time as per latter wrote to principal of by Group Captain on dated September 18th 2021.
  • He made in the first list of 12 candidates shortlisted in 2019 for India’s First crewed spaceflight “Gaganyaan”, but later he couldn’t make it to final list due to medical requirement.
  • Group Captain coming from military family, Father is Retired Officer Col KP Singh Indian Army part of Army Air Defence (AAD) and living near Airport Road in Bhopal where most of the Retired Officer settle down after serving Indian Armed Forces. His Younger Brother is Lieutenant Commander in the India Navy.
  • The Family of Group Captain are at the Hospital, and We all are praying for his recovery.
  • Group Captain Varun Singh(SC) age 39 and married and has two children. His recently promoted to Group Captain and posted at the Defence Services Staff College.

Aftermath of Wellington Helicopter Crash

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) head by Prime Minister of India Mr Narendra Modi held an emergency meeting with members of the committee at Raisina Hills, New Delhi.

The Minister of Defence(रक्षा मंत्री) Shri Rajnath Singh made a formal announcement in Parliament on 9 December regarding the incident.

A Tri-service commission of inquiry is established by the Indian Air Force (IAF), headed by Air Marshal Manavendra Singh, the AOC-in-C Training Command on 8th December 2021.

On the next morning, 9th December, The Flight data recorder (FDR) as called “Black Box” was recovered on the crash site of the Wellington Helicopter Crash. A total of 25 special teams of Air Force officers led by Wing Commander R Bhardwaj successfully recovered, FDR and The team has been actively conducting search operations as the priority was to recover the bodies safely to Wellington Military hospital.

  • K3602 Vayudoot
  • K3602 Vayudoot manifest on 8th December 2021
  • MI 17 V5 (ZP 5164) Last Flaying Seen at Wellington, Coonoor in Nilgiri Mountain
  • MI 17 V5 (ZP 5164) of Indian Air Force
  • India Air Force Special Team at Wellington Crash Site
  • India Air Force Special Team at Wellington Crash Site (via Internet)
  • Flight data recorder (FDR) as called Black Box been recovered from crash site
  • Wellington Helicopter Crash CDS General Bipin Rawat Staff
  • The Knights No 109 Helicopter Unit (HU) Squadron ZP 5164 Crew Member
  • Wellington Helicopter Crash CDS General Bipin Rawat and his Staff
  • Mortal Remains of Wellington Helicopter Crash been carried by Military Personnel at Delhi
  • Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Manoj Mukund Naravane PVSM AVSM SM VSM ADC Paying respect to Brig Lakhwinder Singh Lidder SM VSM
  • Funeral Procession of CDS General Bipin Rawat (via Internet)
  • Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Manoj Mukund Naravane PVSM AVSM SM VSM ADC Paying respect to Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Laxman Singh Rawat PVSM UYSM AVSM YSM SM VSM ADC and Mrs Madhulika Rawat
  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi paying respect to CDS General Bipin Rawat

On Thursday evening, the mortal remains are being carried from Wellington Madras Regiment HQ to Delhi via Special Flight.

Every Indian and all around the world countries diplomatic officials are paid their last gratitude, respect to all the Victim of Wellington Helicopter crash.

CDS General Bipin Rawat and his wife Mrs Madhulika Rawat their mortal body along with all 11 other victim mortal are received final gratitude, respect, tribute and military salute by all Indians at Delhi Containment.

On 10th December, the final ritual along with 17 cannon salutes and Military Tribute was given to the mortal body of CDS General Bipin Rawat. CDS General Bipin Rawat and his wife Mrs Madhulika Rawat were cremated with full military honours at Delhi’s Brar Square crematorium on Friday. The final ritual as per Hindu Funeral Rites and Rituals is being performed by their family members in presence of hundreds of people who paid final gratitude toward India’s first Chief of Defence Staff and Brave Son who served 43 years of selfless service to his motherland.

“We must give him a good farewell, a smiling send-off. I am a solider wife. I should bid him farewell with a smile. I won’t cry.” quoted by Brigadier LS Lidder Wife Miss Geetika Lidder

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, and Haryana Chief Minister M L Khattar earlier in the morning of 10th December laid wreaths on Brigadier Lidder’s mortal remains, which were kept at Brar Square in Delhi cantonment before the cremation. Brigadier LS Lidder was taken to the pyre at 0930 IST (9.30 am IST) His teenage daughter lit the pyre.

Here is a glimpse of Wellington Helicopter Crash Personnel who died in Accident.

  • Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Laxman Singh Rawat PVSM UYSM AVSM YSM SM VSM ADC was born in Fauji family, his father Laxman Singh Rawat served the Indian Army and rose to the rank of Lieutenant-General and his mother was the daughter of Kishan Singh Parmar, the ex-Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Uttarkashi. CDS General Bipin Rawat and his Father Lieutenant-General Laxman Singh Rawat both are served in 5/11 Gorkha Rifles.
  • Mrs Madhulika Rawat, wife of CDS General Bipin Rawat. She was ex officio President AWWA (Army Wife Welfare Association) and President DWWA (Defence Wives Welfare Association). She was born in Pauri, Uttrakhand. General Bipin Rawat and Madhulika Rawat are survived by two daughters.
  • Brigadier LS Lidder (SM, VSM) was Defence Advisor (DA) to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat. Brig Lakhbinder Singh Lidder (52) was up for promotion in the next month had been approved to Major General and was due to take command of a division. Brig Lidder was Survived by his wife and daughter who paid the last rites. Brig Lidder was Commissioned in Jammu and Kashmir Rifles (JAK RIF) in 1990. He had numerous highlights in his distinguished career, as commanded a brigade in northern borders, DA in Kazakhstan, led his battalion in Congo as part of United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Force (MONUSCO), Director at the Military Operations Directorate.
  • Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) Harjinder Singh, was Staff Officer (SO) to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat. Lt Col Harjinder Singh belonged to 11 Gorkha Rifles in the same regiment as CDS General Bipin Rawat. He has been deployed in several battalions, including the Siachen Glacier. He was from Lucknow and served as Staff Officer to CDS. Furthermore, he also served a tenure in United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Mission. He was commissioned in 2001 from Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai.
  • Lance Naik (L/Nk) Vivek Kumar, was part of the elite 1 (Red Devils) Para Special Forces (SF) of Parachute Regiment and Team of Personal Security Officer (PSO) to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat. L/Nk Vivek Kumar(28) is Survived by his wife and their six-month-old son. He joined the Indian Army in 2012 and was responsible for the whole family alone.
  • Lance Naik (L/Nk) B Sai Teja, was part of the elite Para Special Forces (SF) of Parachute Regiment and Part of Personal Security Officer (PSO) Team member to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat. L/Nk Sai Teja (27) was from Eguva Regada of Kurabalakota block in Chittoor. Sai Teja was Survived by his wife and two kids. He joined the Indian Army in 2013 as a sepoy from Bengaluru Regiment. His younger brother was also posted in Sikkim as soldier.
  • Naik Jitendra Kumar was part of the elite 3 (Russel’s Viper) Para Special Forces (SF) of Parachute Regiment and Part of Personal Security Officer (PSO) Team member to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat. He was from Sehore district of Madhya Pradesh. L/Nk Vivek Kumar was Survived by wife and two children.
  • Naik (Nk) Gursewak Singh, was part of the elite 9 (Ghost Operators) Para Special Forces (SF) of Parachute Regiment Part of Personal Security Officer (PSO) Team member to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat. He joined the Indian Army in 2004, and actively served in Jammu and Kashmir. He was an expert in demolition specialist, Unarmed Combat, Close Quarter Battle (CQB) and the best student in a leadership course. “Naik (Nk) Gursevak Singh had roots in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district. He came to his maternal village, Dode that comes under Patti Tehsil in October this year.” as per a statement released by the Defense Ministry.
  • Havaldar Satpal Rai was a native of Takdah Village, Darjeeling district of West Bengal. Havaldar Satpal Rai (40) survived by a wife, a daughter, and a son who is also in the Army. “He was supposed to take early retirement but General Bipin Rawat did not let him leave, saying they would retire together in 2024” quoted by the wife of Havaldar Satpal Rai.
  • Wing Commander (Wg Cdr) PS Chauhan (Pilot), was from Sainik School, Rewa Madhya Pradesh. He joined later NDA and then Indian Air Force. The Rewa School awarded the trophy for sending the maximum cadets to the National Defence Academy. He lived in Agra, Uttar Pradesh and youngest of five siblings. He leaves behind a 12-year-old daughter, a 9-year-old son and a wife.
  • Squadron leader (Sqn Ldr) K Singh (Co-Pilot), was from Ghardana Khurd, a small village located in Buhana Tehsil of Jhunjhunun district, Rajasthan. Jhunjhunun District, known for sending scores of soldiers to the Indian Armed Force. Kuldeep Singh is survived by his wife, and she is with him at his last posting, Coimbatore. He comes from the Fauji family and inspired by his sister. He completed schooling at Kendriya Vidyalaya, then Higher Education at St Xavier’s Collage at Mumbai.
  • Junior Warrant Officer (JWO) Rana Pratap Das, was from Talcher village of Krishnachandrapur in the Anugul district of Odisha. Rana Survived by his Wife and one-year-old son. He has been serving the Indian Air Force (IAF) for 12 years.
  • Junior Warrant Officer (JWO) Pradeep A, was part of The Knights No 109 Helicopter Unit (HU) and his family live in Thrissur, Kerala. He joined Air Force in 2004 and been involved in various rescue operations including the floods in 2018 which caused massive destruction throughout Kerala.

Furthermore, the mortal remains are being transferred to Delhi for fully Military Honour and all Indian are paying their respect to CDS General Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat, Brigadier LS Lidder, Lt Col Harjinder Singh, L/Nk Vivek Kumar, L/Nk B Sai Teja, Naik Jitendra Kumar, Naik Gursewak Singh, Havaldar Satpal Rai, Wg Cdr PS Chauhan, Sqn Ldr K Singh, JWO Rana Pratap Das, JWO Pradeep A.

After the deviated incident occurred, all who died in a wellington helicopter crash, their mortal remains have been transferred from wellington Madras Regiment HQ to Delhi for full Military Honours and last respect to all who lost life’s on Wednesday 8th December.

Mortal remains of Wing Commander (Wg Cdr) Prithvi Singh Chauhan arrives in his home city, Agra on 11th December and his final rites and rituals will be performed with fully Military Honour.

Mortal remains of Junior Warrant Officer (JWO) Rana Pratap Das reached Bhubaneswar on 11th December and his final rites and rituals will be performed with fully Military Honour.

Positive identification of remain are being identified, and their mortal remains headed to their native places and their final rites and rituals will be performed with fully Military Honour.

  • Lt Col. Harjinder Singh
  • L/Nk Vivek Kumar
  • L/Nk B Sai Teja
  • Nk Jitendra Kumar
  • Nk Gursewak Singh
  • Havaldar Satpal Rai
  • Sqn Ldr K Singh
  • JWO Pradeep A

The Lone Survivor, Group Captain Varun Singh hash being treated at The Command Hospital Air Force, Bangalore and still fighting for life and health condition continues to be critical but stable as per Officials.

Mortal remains of Lance Naik (L/Nk) Vivek Kumar 1ParaSF arrive at Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh and his mortal cremated on 11th December Saturday afternoon with full state and military honours by Officials. His brother lit the pyre at Kanjeshwar Mahadev crematorium in Lambagaon town, around 15 km from his hometown of Thehedu.

Mortal remains of Lance Naik (L/Nk) B Sai Teja arrive at command hospital bangalore on 11th December Saturday, after his remains are arrived to native village Yeguvaregadi in Chittoor district on Sunday afternoon in flower bedecked military vehicle from Bengaluru.

Mortal remains of Naik (Nk) Jitendra Kumar, 3ParaSF arrive at his hometown Bhopal and his mortal cremated on 12th December Sunday afternoon with full state and military honours by Officials.

Mortal remains of Naik (Nk) Gursewak Singh, 9ParaSF been carried from Amritsar Air Force Station to his homeplace and given fully military honours by Western Command Officials.

On 15th December Wednesday after nearly one week of fighting to death, unfortunately Fighter Group Captain Varun Singh (Shaurya Chakra) succumbs to injuries on 15th December at The Command Hospital Air Force, Bangalore as per Indian Air Force official statement.

  • Naik (Nk) Jitendra Kumar, 3ParaSF
  • Lance Naik Vivek Kumar 1ParaSF
  • Naik Gursewak Singh 9ParaSF
  • An IAF Personnel places the cap of Group Captain Varun Singh on a casket containing his mortal remains, at Yelahanka Air Force Base Station in Bengaluru
  • Colleagues salute the mortal remains of Group Captain Varun Singh at Yelahanka Air Base Station in Bengaluru
  • Ab IAF Personnel carry the mortal remains of Group Captain Varun Singh to an aircraft that took them to Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, at Yelahanka Air Base Station in Bengaluru

Mortal remains of Fighter Group Captain Varun Singh Shaurya Chakra(SC) from Indian Air Force (IAF) brought to Bhopal on Thursday and last rites and ritual will be perform on Friday with full state and military honours, also IAF Family members paid their respects to Group Captain Varun Singh in Bangalore on Thursday before his mortal remains was airlifted to Bhopal for last ritual.

We all are shocked by this tragic event that occurred on Wednesday 8th December afternoon in Wellington and We all are must pay our last tribute, gratitude, respect to all who we lost in this incident.

“I regret I have but one life to give for my country.”

Flying Officer Prem Ramsing Ramchandani (7442 GD(P))*

Jai Hind.

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