India defence chief’s pilot ‘disoriented by weather’: inquiry

Government blamed sudden climate that led to helicopter crash final month that killed head of India’s armed forces.

A pilot disoriented by a sudden change in climate circumstances crashed the helicopter carrying India’s defence chief General Bipin Rawat final month, killing all 14 individuals on board, an official inquiry discovered.

The 63-year-old Rawat was travelling together with his spouse and different senior officers within the Russian-made Mi-17V5 chopper, which crashed near its vacation spot in southern Tamil Nadu state on December 8.

“The court of inquiry has ruled out mechanical failure, sabotage or negligence as a cause of the accident,” India’s defence ministry stated in an announcement on Friday.

The ministry stated that the investigation group analysed the flight knowledge recorder, cockpit voice recorder and questioned witnesses to give you its preliminary report.

“The accident was a result of entry into clouds due to unexpected change in weather conditions in the valley,” the assertion stated. “This led to spatial disorientation of the pilot resulting in Controlled Flight into Terrain.”

A day after the accident, India’s defence minister stated the helicopter misplaced contact with air site visitors management seven minutes earlier than it was purported to land and didn’t ship a misery name earlier than it was present in flames in a forested space.

Rawat was India’s first chief of defence employees, a place that the federal government established in 2019, and was seen as near Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The coffin of India's Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, covered in flowers is seen from aboveThe coffin of India’s Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat travelled via New Delhi pulled behind a navy car [File: Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters]

His dying was the topic of wall-to-wall protection in Indian media, and his flag-wrapped coffin was towed via the streets of New Delhi on a gun carriage draped with flower garlands earlier than he was cremated.

He and his spouse have been cremated collectively on the identical pyre, with a 17-gun salute fired as their daughters set it alight.

Rawat was an outspoken and polarising, however massively well-liked, officer who got here from a navy household and had already survived a helicopter accident in 2015, with minor accidents.

The basic was headed to the Defence Services Staff College to handle college students and school when the Mi-17 chopper crashed in foggy circumstances.

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