New Delhi: There was no sabotage involved in the crash of the Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter which resulted in the death of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 12 other military personnel, a high level military probe has found, dispelling all theories and speculations.
The Tri-Services Court of Inquiry, which has submitted its preliminary findings, has said the mishap on December 8, 2021 occurred as the Russia-made helicopter Mi-17V5 entered clouds due to “unexpected change in weather conditions” in the valley of Coonor in Tamil Nadu.
“This led to spatial disorientation of the pilot, resulting in Controlled Flight into Terrain,” according to the report cited by the Defence Ministry.
On the fateful day, Gen Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 12 Army officers and personnel were flying in the helicopter from Sulur Airbase to Wellington Airbase.
However, minutes before the helicopter was scheduled to reach its destination, it crashed and burst into flames, killing everyone on board.
Gen Rawat, the first CDS of the country, was to deliver a lecture in Wellington.
“The Court of Inquiry has ruled out mechanical failure, sabotage or negligence as a cause of the accident,” according to a statement issued by the Defence Ministry.
“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,” it said.
Based on its findings, the Court of Inquiry has made certain recommendations which are being reviewed, the Ministry said.
The report has effectively dispelled all theories and speculations regarding sabotage being the cause of the crash.
There were some who suspected foreign hand behind the crash.