The mortal remains of four victims of the IAF chopper crash, including that of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and Brigadier LS Lidder, have been positively identified, news agency ANI reported on Thursday.
Earlier it was reported that the severity of the crash that occurred on Wednesday noon near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, leading to the death of 13 of 14 people on board the helicopter, was making it difficult to positively identify the bodies of the deceased persons.
An Indian Army spokesperson told ANI that assistance of close family members of the victims is being taken for positive identification “in addition to scientific measures.”
“All necessary assistance and support are being provided,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.
The bodies of all 13 victims of the crashed IAF have been transported in ambulances from Madras Regimental Centre in the Nilgiris district to the Sulur air base in Coimbatore. Earlier in the day, defence minister Rajnath Singh informed Parliament that CDS General Rawat’s last rites will be performed with full military honours, and the mortal remains of all 13 victims will be brought to Delhi by evening.
IAF chief VR Chaudhuri has already left for the national capital from the Sulur air base. Along with Singh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, Union minister of state for defence Ajay Bhatt and three services chiefs will pay tribute to CDS Rawat, his wife Madhulika, and 11 other Armed forces personnel at the Palam Technical Area on Thursday evening.
According to latest updates by ANI, PM Modi will pay respects at around 9pm today, and the mortal remains of CDS Rawat and other Armed forces personnel will reach Delhi at around 8pm. Some family members of the personnel killed in Wednesday’s incident will also be present.
Meanwhile, Singh said that the Centre has directed a tri-service inquiry to be conducted into the IAF chopper crash. The probe team will be led by Air Marshal Manavendra Singh, and according to the defence minister, they reached Wellington in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday itself and have started their investigation as well.
The IAF helicopter Mi17V5 helicopter crashed near Coonoor following loss of contact to the Sulur control room at Wednesday noon. CDS General Rawat was en route to the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) to address the faculty and students there. Group Captain Varun Singh, who is the directing staff at the DSSC, is the only person to have survived the chopper crash, and is currently admitted in a military hospital in Wellington.