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The crash site of IAF helicopter near Coonoor in south Indian state of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday. Image Credit: ANI

Chennai: One of the big questions that is facing the armed forces as well as the nation is — how a helicopter carrying a very very important person —India’s Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat — crashed resulting in the death of 13 people including the general.

“Comprehensive checks of the helicopter would have been done. There would have been a standby helicopter as well. The weather condition would have been checked. In this case, if the weather at Wellington was marginal, they may have decided to make an attempt and then call it off,” said a former official of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The official said technical snag or weather could have been the factor due to which crash happened.

According to him, if all things were normal, the one possibility is that, as the chopper was close to Coonoor, it would have been flying low and or may be flew into the hill, to duck beneath the clouds.

The chopper will have a black box and a study of that could throw more light on the cause of the accident.

Only one of the 14 people on board the Indian Air Force helicopter survived the crash in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor on Wednesday afternoon.

Locals who saw the chopper crash helped in rescue operations. An eyewitness said, it was misty, may be due to which the chopper hit a tree and went down.

The force said that an inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.

The chopper took off from the Sulur air base and was proceeding to Wellington when it crashed.

Others who were in the chopper were Brigadier L.S. Lidder, Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitender Kumar, Naik Vivek Kumar, Naik B. Sai Teja, Havaldar Satpal and pilots.

A former Wing Commander of the IAF told IANS that ‘based on the visuals on the news channels, the helicopter must have crashed with a strong impact and exploded’.