Indian defence minister’s pilot ‘disoriented by weather’: Inquiry | Weather News

The government blamed unexpected weather for the helicopter crash that killed the head of India’s armed forces last month.

Last month, a helicopter carrying Indian Defense Minister General Bipin Rawat crashed after a pilot became disoriented due to a sudden change in weather conditions, kill all 14 On board, an official investigation found.

On December 8, the 63-year-old Rawat, along with his wife and other senior officers, crashed in southern Tamil Nadu near their destination in a Russian-made Mi-17V5 helicopter.

“The investigating court has ruled out mechanical failure, vandalism or negligence as the cause of the accident,” India’s defense ministry said in a statement on Friday.

The ministry said the investigation team analyzed the flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder and questioned witnesses to make a preliminary report.

“The accident was the result of cloud entry due to unexpected changes in weather conditions in the valley,” the statement said. “This resulted in the pilot being spatially disoriented, resulting in controlled flight into the terrain.”

A day after the accident, Indian defense minister said helicopter losing contact Air traffic control was in place seven minutes before it was supposed to land, and no distress signal was issued until it was found in flames in a forested area.

Rawat was India’s first chief of defense staff, a post created by the government in 2019 and seen as close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The coffin of General Bipin Rawat, Indian Chief of Defence Staff, is seen from above, covered with flowersIndian Defence Chief General Bipin Rawat’s coffin dragged behind a military vehicle while travelling in New Delhi [File: Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters]

His death was fully covered in the Indian media, and his flag-wrapped coffin was dragged through the streets of New Delhi by a garland-laden cannon wagon before being cremated.

He and his wife were cremated on the same pyre and fired a 17-gun salute as their daughter lit it.

Rawat, an outspoken, polarizing but very popular officer from a military family, survived a helicopter accident in 2015 with minor injuries.

The general was on his way to the Defense Service Staff College to address students and staff when the Mi-17 helicopter crashed in foggy conditions.