The tri-services inquiry team headed by an Indian Air Force officer is scheduled to make a detailed presentation to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the reasons behind the Mi-17 chopper crash that took place on December 8 which led to the death of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 12 other military personnel.
A senior Indian Navy chopper pilot was part of the investigation into the crash and played an important role in the probe. An Army officer was also part of the inquiry team, government sources said here. “The inquiry team along with the Indian Air Force top brass is scheduled to make the detailed presentation in the crash and its reasons to the Defence Minister along with other senior functionaries of the ministry on Wednesday,” defence sources told ANI.
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 flying following a railway line in the hills when they entered a thick cloud cover that emerged suddenly. The chopper was flying at a low altitude and knowing the terrain, it is emerging that the crew decided to fly out of the cloud cover rather than landing and hit a cliff in the process, the sources said.
The sources suggested that since the entire crew was ‘master green’ category, it seems 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 is 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,
General Rawat and the 13 others were killed in a Mi-17V5, crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu.