India's Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat died on Wednesday (8 December) after a military chopper crashed in Tamil Nadu, killing 13 on board.
The flight data recorder of the chopper has been found. The Air Force has ordered a tri-service inquiry into the incident, report NDTV.
Here are the 10 latest developments in this story:
- One of the vehicles carrying the 13 bodies met with a minor accident near Mettupalayam in Coimbatore district, news agency ANI said. The vehicles were transporting the bodies to the Sulur Air Force base in Coimbatore, from where they will be flown to Delhi this evening.
- The body in the vehicle involved in the accident was shifted to a standby vehicle travelling with the convoy. Visuals shared by ANI show a large crowd of locals chanting 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and showering the road with flower petals as the convoy reaches the Sulur base.
- All 13 bodies will be brought back to Delhi on a C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft belonging to the Air Force. Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, who had flown down yesterday to the crash site in Tamil Nadu's Nilgiri Hills, has returned to Delhi to receive the bodies.
- Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, addressing Parliament this morning, said a high-level inquiry had been ordered. The investigation will be led by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, Mr Singh said. The Defence Minister said the sole survivor - Group Captain Varun Singh - is on life support.
- Group Captain Singh - who reportedly suffered 90 per cent burn injuries in the crash - was being treated at the military hospital in Wellington. Defence officials in the Nilgiris say he will now be flown to the Air Force's Command Hospital in Bengaluru for further treatment.
- Gen Bipin Rawat, India's first Chief of Defence Staff, will be cremated with full military honours on Friday, as will all those who died in the crash. The bodies of Gen Rawat and his wife, Madhulika Rawat, will be taken to the Army hospital in Delhi's Dhaula Kuan this evening.
- From 11 am Friday they will be kept in state at their residence to allow friends, family, and the public to pay their respects. At 2 pm, the bodies, escorted by military bands from all three services, will be taken to Brar crematorium in Dhaula Kuan. The funeral is scheduled for 4 pm.
- Condolence messages have come from the US, China, Nepal, the UK, Russia, Australia, France, Israel, and Japan. President Ram Nath Kovind said "the nation has lost one of its bravest sons" and Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Gen Rawat an "outstanding soldier". Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called his death an "irreparable loss" for the country and the armed forces.
- The Mi-17V5 Air Force chopper - described as "the workhorse of the Air Force" and widely seen as a stable and secure aircraft, carrying Gen Rawat crashed after it took off from the Sulur base. The General was on his way to the Defence Staff Services Colleges in Wellington. Group Captain Singh had gone to Sulur from Wellington to receive Gen Rawat.
- Unverified footage emerged this morning of a chopper flying in the area; the clip, shared by ANI, shows the aircraft flying low and disappearing into the mist. An eyewitness can be heard asking "Did it crash?", to which another says "Yes". The chopper, which took off at 11.48 am, would have landed at the Wellington base in 10 minutes. It was reported missing at 12.08 pm.