The Indian Air Force (IAF) presented a detailed tri-services inquiry report to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the Mi-17 chopper crash on December 8 which led to the death of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 12 other military personnel, informed sources on Wednesday.
“IAF gave a detailed presentation for over 45 minutes to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the CDS chopper crash inquiry report. The tri-services probe report has given its findings on reasons behind the crash and made recommendations for the future chopper operations for flying VIPs,” government sources said. Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar and inquiry committee chief Air Marshal Manvendra Singh were there to present the report to the Defence Minister.
The tri-services inquiry team has also made some recommendations for revising the standard operating procedures while operating choppers carrying senior officials of the defence forces, the sources said.
On the crash details, the sources said the Mi-17V5 was following a railway line in the hills when it entered a thick cloud cover that emerged suddenly.
The chopper was flying at a low altitude and knowing the terrain, it emerged that the crew decided to fly out of the cloud cover rather than land, and hit a cliff in the process, the sources said.
The sources suggested that since the entire crew was ‘master green’ category, they were confident that they would be able to wriggle out of the situation as there was no distress call made to the ground stations to suggest an emergency.
Sources added that the ‘Master green’ category is given to the best of pilots in the transport aircraft and helicopter fleets of the three forces as they are the ones who can land or take off in low visibility as well.
Further, it said that one of the recommendations which are learnt to have been made by the inquiry committee is that in future, the crew should be a mix of master green and other category pilots so that if required, they can seek help from the ground stations.
A number of other recommendations are also learnt to have been made by the inquiry committee headed by Air Marshal M Singh.