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India defense chief among at least 13 dead in helicopter crash

At least 13 people are dead, including India’s chief of the armed forces, Gen. Bipin Rawat, after a military helicopter crashed on Wednesday.

Only one of the 14 people on board survived, according to a Reuters report.

“With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that Gen Bipin Rawat, [his wife] Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have died,” the Air Force said in a statement, according to Reuters.

The Russian-manufactured Mi-17V5 helicopter was taking Rawat from an Indian Air Force base to the Defense Services Staff College for a speech. 

“An inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident,” the Air Force said.

Video from local media shows rescue teams putting out fires in the wreckage that occurred in a wooded area, according to Reuters. 

Rawat was picked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to become the country’s first defense chief back in 2019.

Modi commented shortly after the reports of Rawat’s death, calling him a “true patriot.”

“A true patriot, he greatly contributed to modernizing our armed forces and security apparatus,” the prime minister said.

Tags Bipin Rawat helicopter crash India Mil Mi-17

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