NEW DELHI: A tri-services court of inquiry has ruled out mechanical failure behind the chopper crash on December 8 that killed India’s first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat.
In an investigation report on the crash, the panel said that the accident was a result of entry into clouds due to unexpected change in weather conditions. This led to “spatial disorientation of the pilot resulting in Controlled Flight into Terrain.”
The report on the preliminary findings has also ruled out sabotage or negligence as a cause of the accident.
The Air Force in a formal statement said that the panel probing the crash of the Mi-17 V5 chopper analysed the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder, and also questioned all available witnesses to determine the most probable cause of the accident. It also made certain recommendations which are being reviewed, the IAF statement said.
General Rawat, along with his wife and 12 others, including a crew of 4, were on-board the chopper that took off from the Sulur air base in Tamil Nadu for the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, where Rawat was to deliver a lecture.
However the chopper crashed about 10 km from its destination in a hilly area in cloudy conditions. All 14 on board lost their lives. The deaths of Rawat, his wife and 11 others were confirmed by the IAF same day, while the only crash survivor dies in hospital about a week later.