Black Box of Indian General Rawat’s Helicopter Recovered

The flight data recorder, sometimes known as the “black box,” of the Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter that crashed yesterday, killing the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife, and 11 others, was recovered today by Indian defense officials.

The black box was discovered after officials widened the search area from 300 meters to one kilometer from the crash site in the forested hills of Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris district, according to official sources. The black box could reveal critical information on the chain of events, including any last-minute conversations between the pilot and the ATC before the disaster on Wednesday, when Rawat, his wife Madhulika, and 11 others were killed when the Mi-17VH helicopter they were traveling in crashed.

Rajnath Singh, India’s defence minister, announced today in parliament that a tri-service investigation into the helicopter crash has begun. He claimed the bodies of the 13 persons would be carried to New Delhi this evening, including Rawat’s and his wife Madhulika’s. 

Group Captain Varun Singh is the only survivor of the crash, according to Rajnath, and his condition is “serious but stable.” “Every effort is being made” to preserve Varun Singh’s life, the Defence Minister continued.

When the unfortunate tragedy occurred in the Katteri-Nanchappanchathram area, Rawat was on his way to the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, where he had previously studied, to address the faculty and student officers of the staff course. From December 17, 2016, to December 31, 2019, Gen Rawat was the Chief of the Indian Army. On December 31, 2019, he was appointed as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff following his retirement.

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