Chopper crash: PM Modi, Rajnath Singh pay homage to Gen Bipin Rawat, others at Palam airport
New Delhi, Dec 9: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the country's top military brass on Thursday paid homage to India's first Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika, Brig LS Lidder and 10 more defence personnel at the Palam airbase.
NSA Ajit Doval, Army Chief MM Naravane, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar, Air Chief Marshal AVR Chaudhari, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar were among those who paid homage to the deceased at a sombre ceremony.
Heart-wrenching scenes were seen at the Palam airport as 13 caskets were lined up inside a hangar in presence of their family members.
An Indian Air Force C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft carrying the bodies from the Sulur airbase touched down at the Palam technical airport around 7:35 pm. Only three of the 13 bodies have been identified so far -- Gen Rawat and his wife, Madhulika Rawat and Brigadier LS Lidder.
#WATCH PM Narendra Modi leads the nation in paying tribute to CDS General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and other 11 Armed Forces personnel who lost their lives in the military chopper crash yesterday pic.twitter.com/6FvYSyJ1g6— ANI (@ANI) December 9, 2021
Army officials said the bodies of those identified will be released to the families for last rites. The other bodies will be kept at the mortuary at the Army Base Hospital till they are identified. The bodies of Gen Rawat and his wife will be kept at their 3 Kamaraj Marg residence for the general public to pay their final respects from 11 am to 12:30 pm Friday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays last respects to CDS General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and other 11 Armed Forces personnel who lost their lives in the #TamilNaduChopperCrash yesterday. pic.twitter.com/QT3JHKTedq— ANI (@ANI) December 9, 2021
The slot between 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm will be kept for military personnel to pay their respects to the outstanding commander and his wife. The final journey of Gen Rawat from his residence to the Brar Square crematorium is scheduled to start around 2 pm.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh pays last respects to CDS General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and other 11 Armed Forces personnel who lost their lives in the #TamilNaduChopperCrash yesterday. pic.twitter.com/TZI0XoAUZd— ANI (@ANI) December 9, 2021
The funeral is scheduled for 4 pm.
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others, who were on board IAF's Mi-17V5 helicopter, died in the crash on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Centre has ordered a 'tri service' enquiry into the accident. It will be headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command.
Those who died in the crash include General Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, his Defence Adviser Brigadier Lakhbinder Singh Lidder, Staff Officer Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh and nine other Armed Forces personnel including the Air Force helicopter crew. Their names are Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan, Squadron Leader Kuldeep Singh, Junior Warrant Officer Rana Pratap Das, Junior Warrant Officer Arakkal Pradeep, Havildar Satpal Rai, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitendra Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar, Lance Naik B Sai Teja.