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CDS Chopper Crash: CoI Says Clouds Disoriented Pilot, Rules out Negligence or Sabotage

The preliminary findings into the chopper crash incident in Tamil Nadu, in which chief of defence staff Gen Bipin Rawat and 13 others were killed on December 8, on Friday stated that there was no technical failure, sabotage or negligence, and the helicopter crashed due its “entry into clouds due to unexpected change in weather conditions in the valley”.

The Tri-Services Court of Inquiry into the Mi-17 V5 accident submitted its preliminary findings. The inquiry team analysed the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder apart from questioning all available witnesses to determine the most probable cause of the accident.

The court of inquiry has ruled out mechanical failure, sabotage or negligence as a cause of the accident.

The accident, it said, was a result of entry into clouds due to unexpected change in weather conditions in the valley. This led to spatial disorientation of the pilot resulting in controlled flight into terrain.

Based on its findings, the Court of Inquiry has made certain recommendations which are being reviewed.

Gen Rawat’s wife Madhulika, his defence adviser Brigadier LS Lidder, staff officer to the CDS, Lt Col Harjinder Singh and decorated pilot Group Captain Varun Singh were among 13 others killed in the crash near Coonoor.

It is learnt that the probe team examined all likely scenarios for the crash, including possible human error or whether it was a case of disorientation of crew when the helicopter was preparing for landing. Air Marshal Singh, currently heading the Bengaluru-headquartered Training Command of the IAF, is known to be one of the best air crash investigators in the country.

Before taking the reins of the Training Command, the Air Marshal was the Director General (Inspection and Safety) at the Air headquarters and developed various protocols for flight safety while serving in the post.

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Source: News18