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CDS Bipin Rawat Chopper Crash: Tri-Services Inquiry Rules Out Sabotage And Mechanical Snag, Blames Weather

The Court of Inquiry into the crash of the Russian-origin Mi-17V5 helicopter was headed by Air Marshal Manavendra Singh.

Rescue officals at the spot where an IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter crashed in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. CDS Gen Bipin Rawat, his staff and some family members were in the chopper. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: The tri-services Court of Inquiry into chopper crash that killed CDS General Bipin Rawat and 13 others has concluded that the accident was a result of entry into clouds due to unexpected weather change, which further led to spatial disorientation of the pilot. The tri-services Court of Inquiry, which submitted its preliminary findings on Friday, 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 (CFIT),” it stated. According to US aviation regulator 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.

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The inquiry team analysed the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder besides questioning all available witnesses to determine the most probable cause of the accident. Based on its findings, the Court of Inquiry has made certain recommendations which are being reviewed.

The Court of Inquiry into the crash of the Russian-origin Mi-17V5 helicopter was headed by Air Marshal Manavendra Singh.

Gen Rawat’s 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.

Earlier on January 5, the Indian Air Force apprised Defence Minister Rajnath Singh about the findings of the tri-services investigation into the chopper crash.

(With PTI inputs)