In an unexpected military helicopter crash on December 8, all 14 personnel including Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat drew their last breath. The IAF Mi-17 helicopter crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu‘s Nilgiris district on Wednesday.
“With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident,” the Indian Air Force said in a tweet.
Going through the profile on the Indian Army’s website, General Rawat commanded an infantry battalion along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern Sector, which is an infantry division in the Kashmir Valley and a corps in the Northeast.
General Bipin Rawat managed several operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the Line of Control with Pakistan, the Line of Actual Control with China including the North-East.
Meanwhile, the shocking incident reminds us of several popular personalities who have lost their lives in air crashes in the past.
1. Subash Chandra Bose’s defiant patriotism made him a real hero in India. Despite a massive controversy behind the cause of death, it is a popular belief that the freedom fighter drew his last breath in an air crash in 1945 in Taiwan.
2. For the unversed, Sanjay Gandhi, the younger son of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was perished in 1980 when a glider he was flying collided after taking off from the Safdarjung airport in the national capital.
3. Madhavrao Scindia passed away in a Cessna aircraft crash in 2001. The unexpected incident happened when the Senior Congress leader was travelling to Kanpur to address a rally.
4. Another air accident that shocked the nation was when the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was onboard the helicopter. The chopper off Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy crashed in a forest while flying in a Bell 430 to Chitoor district in Andhra Pradesh. His body was traced 27 hours after the chopper went missing in 2009.
5. Even Lok Sabha Speaker and Telugu Desam leader G.M.C. Balayogi passed away in a chopper crash in 2002 in Andhra Pradesh.
6. O.P. Jindal, Haryana’s ex power minister and a leading industrialist, and state agriculture minister Surendra Singh lost their lives when their chopper experienced a technical snag and went down near Saharanpur in 2005.
7. Another shocking incident happened when Punjab Governor Surendra Nath and 9 members of his family drew their last breath when the Super-King aircraft collided into high mountains in extreme weather conditions in 1994 in Himachal Pradesh. Nath was then also the acting Governor of Himachal.
8. Arunachal Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu was found ‘dead’ near the China border in 2011, five days after the helicopter that he was using went missing.