IAF Helicopter crashes in India- Find here list of Prominent Indians who died in military chopper crash

Helicopter crashes in India: The IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu is a grim reminder of the 1963 Poonch helicopter crash, which killed six top Army and Air Force officers. 

Military chopper crashes in India
Military chopper crashes in India

Helicopter crashes in India: In a tragic incident, an Indian Air Force helicopter Mi-17V5 carrying India's most senior military general, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika and senior defence officers and IAF pilots crashed in the Nilgiri hills in Tamil Nadu on December 8, 2021. Out of the total 14 passengers on board, 13 were confirmed to be dead by the Indian Air Force including CDS General Bipin Rawat and his wife.

General Bipin Rawat was India's first Chief of Defence Staff. He was on his way to deliver a lecture at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington. This is one of the worst chopper crashes in the history of the Indian Armed forces. The tragic chopper crash sent shockwaves across the country and the country's top leaders dropped all their scheduled events to convene emergency meetings to decide the next line of action following such horrific news. 

Read more: CDS Bipin Rawat, wife confirmed dead among 13 people in military chopper crash

This is not the first time that General Bipin Rawat was involved in a military chopper crash. In February 2015, General Bipin Rawat had a miraculous escape when the helicopter he was travelling in crashed. He was travelling in a single-engine helicopter based on the 1950s’ Alouette Aérospatiale 315B Lama of France, The Cheetah, which plunged nose down from the height of 20 metres, right after taking flight. General Rawat, then Lt General was heading towards the 3 Corps headquarters in Dimapur Nagaland. He escaped with minor injuries then.

The IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu is a grim reminder of the 1963 Poonch helicopter crash, which killed six top Army and Air Force officers. There have been several tragic chopper crashes after that as well involving prominent Indians including former Andhra Pradesh CM YS Rajasekhara Reddy, Sanjay Gandhi, Royal Scion from Madhya Pradesh Madhavrao Scindia, Nagaland CM Dorjee Khandu and actress Soundarya.

Helicopter crashes in India

1963 Poonch helicopter crash 

The IAF Aerospatiale Alouette III helicopter carrying six officers was on its way to Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir when it crashed. The officers were on their way to inspect a new water-head that was constructed after electricity and power supply was affected in the town. The chopper reportedly collided with telegraph lines at an altitude of 200 feet. 

The officers who died in the unfortunate helicopter crash include-

Lieutenant General Daulat Singh, General officer commanding in chief, western command

Air Vice-Marshal EW Pinto, Air officer commanding, western command

Lieutenant General Bikram Singh, General Officer Commanding, 15 Corps

Major General KND Nanavati, Military Cross, General Officer Commanding 25 Infantry Division

Brigadier SR Oberoi, Military Cross, Commander 93 Infantry Brigade

Flight Lieutenant SS Sodhi 

May 30, 1973 plane crash

Mohan Kumaramangalam, Union Minister of steel under Indira Gandhi's government died in the crash of Indian Airlines Flight 440 in New Delhi on May 31, 1973. He was 56. 

June 23, 1980

Sanjay Gandhi, Congress leader and younger son of former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, died after the advanced Pitts S-2A aircraft that he was flying on crashed soon after taking off from Safdarjung airport in Delhi. He was performing an aerobatic maneuver over his office when he reportedly lost control and crashed. He was just 33. The only passenger in the plane, Captain Subhash Saxena, also died in the crash. 

July 9, 1994

Surendra Nath, the then Punjab governor was traveling to Kullu from Chandigarh when the 14-seater Beechcraft plane he was traveling in crashed in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh on July 9, 1994. The 68-year-old former IPS officer and 12 others including nine members of his family died in the crash. 

November 14, 1997 

The then Union Minister of State for Defence, N.V.N. Somu and three members of the armed forces including a Major General died in a chopper crash on November 14, 1997.

May 2001

The then Arunachal Pradesh education minister, Dera Natung and five others died when their Pawan Hans helicopter crashed near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh due to poor visibility.

September 30, 2001

The royal scion from Madhya Pradesh and Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia died in a plane crash while travelling to Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh to address a Congress rally. His chartered flight crashed in an Uttar Pradesh village in September 30, 2001. He was 56.

March 3, 2002

Then Lok Sabha Speaker and Telugu Desam Party leader GMC Balayogi died in a chopper crash in Andhra Pradesh's Krishna district on 3 March 2002.

17 April, 2004

Actress KS Sowmya, popularly known as Soundarya, died in a helicopter crash on April 17, 2004 while travelling Karimnagar from Bangalore. She was 31. 

September 2004

The then Meghalaya community development minister, C Sangma along with three legislators and six others was killed in a helicopter crash in September 2004. 

March 31, 2005

Noted industrialist OP Jindal, who was also Haryana's power minister then died in a helicopter crash in March 2005. The state's Agriculture Minister Surender Singh also died in the crash. They were flying back to Chandigarh from Delhi.

September 3, 2009

YS Rajasekhara Reddy, the then-Andhra Pradesh chief minister, in a very tragic incident died when the twin-engined Bell 430 helicopter carrying him crashed in the Nallamala Hills in Andhra Pradesh. He was flying to a village in Chitoor district.

April 30,2011

Dorjee Khandu, the then Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister also died when the helicopter carrying him and four others crashed in a forest, about 30 km away from Tawang near the India-China border on April 30, 2011. He was travelling from Tawang to Itanagar. The former CM's body was recovered about 5 days later near Sela Pass, close to India's border with China.

May 9, 2012

A helicopter carrying the then Jharkhand chief minister Arjun Munda, his wife and three others crash-landed at Ranchi's Birsa Munda airport. All survived but sustained injuries.

July 2014

Seven IAF personnel, including two officers, died when the ALH Dhruv helicopter carrying them from Bareilly to Allahabad crashed in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh

October 2014

Three Army officers died when a Cheetah helicopter belonging to an Army aviation unit in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh crashed shortly after takeoff. 

April 3, 2018

An IAF helicopter Mi-17 V5 crashed near Kedarnath in April 2018 while flying on a state mission. All four aircrew and two ground staff members, survived the crash.

February 27, 2019

IAF helicopter Mi-17 V5, which had taken off from Srinagar on a routine mission, crashed near Jammu and Kashmir's Budgam. All six onboard sustained fatal injuries.

May 21, 2021

IAF pilot Abhinav Chaudhary died when his MiG-21 fighter jet crashed in an open field in Langeana village in Moga district in Punjab.

Know more about India’s first Chief of Defence Staff

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