Military aviation is attended by even greater hazards than commercial flying but, even so, it is shocking for the defence services to be suddenly confronted with the deaths in a flying accident of their senior-most commander and key members of his personal staff. From what is known till going to the press, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat, was travelling from his headquarters in New Delhi to give a lecture to student officers attending the Defence Services Staff College at Wellington — a year-long course that marks out the brightest and best military officers who are destined for higher rank. At the Sulur Air Force Base in Coimbatore, General Rawat and his entourage transferred from his Indian Air Force (IAF) Embraer Legacy business jet to an IAF Mil-17V-5 helicopter for the short hop to Wellington. At noon, the helicopter was just minutes short of its destination when it crashed, killing everyone except for the pilot.
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First Published: Thu, December 09 2021. 00:13 IST