The Tri-Service Court of Inquiry probing the December 8, 2021 chopper crash involving CDS Gen Bipin Rawat and 13 others has found that the helicopter entered into clouds due to unexpected change in weather, which led to spatial disorientation of the pilot causing the accident, the Indian Air Force said in a statement on Friday.
The inquiry panel, headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh with officers of the Indian Army and Indian Navy in the team, has submitted its preliminary findings into the Mi-17 V5 accident, added the IAF.
“The inquiry team analyzed the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder, besides questioning all available witnesses to determine the most probable cause of the accident.
“The Court of Inquiry has ruled out mechanical failure, sabotage or negligence as a cause of accident,” it added.
The IAF has termed the unexpected change in weather conditions to be the main reason for disorientation of the pilot resulting in Controlled Flight into Terrain, confirming a UNI report earlier.
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IAF further said that the inquiry panel, based on the findings, has made certain recommendations (for future VVIP travel), which are being reviewed.
Earlier, the Tri-Service Court of Inquiry had given a detailed presentation to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on January 5 in presence of IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari and Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar.
Gen Bipin Rawat, held as the country’s most celebrated Army officer, died near Coonoor on December 8 afternoon, together with his wife Madhulika Rawat, his senior most staff officer Brig LS Lidder and Lt Col Harjinder Singh, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitender Kumar, Naik Vivek Kumar, Naik B. Sai Teja, Havaldar Satpal and pilots flying the aircraft.
The chopper had taken off from the Sulur IAF station and it was flying to Wellington when it crashed.