The video of a helicopter flying near the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu and vanishing into the mist has emerged after India’s top general, Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, was killed along with 12 others in a crash on Wednesday.
The video, tweeted by news agency ANI and sourced from locals, apparently captures the last moments of the Indian Air Force Mi 17 V5 chopper before it crashed into the mountains yesterday afternoon.
The Air Force has not commented on the authenticity of the video.
The chopper in the video is heard flying over the hills when a change in the sound stops witnesses short.
The chopper is not heard at all when witnesses look in the general direction. One person seems to ask: “What happened? Did it fall or crash?” Another voice replies: “Yes”.
General Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, and 11 others were killed when the chopper crashed on its way to Wellington from the Sulur Air Force Base in Coimbatore.
The only survivor is Group Captain Varun Singh, who is being treated for severe burns at the military hospital in Wellington.
The chopper, which took off at 11:48 am, was descending and would have landed in 10 more minutes. It was reported missing at around 12:22 pm.
General Rawat was headed to the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) to address students and faculty.
The chopper came down around 10 kilometres from the nearest main road, forcing emergency workers to trek to the accident site.
An eyewitness quoted by news agency AFP said he had seen passengers falling from the helicopter before the crash, and that one person had crawled out from the wreckage.
Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhary visited the crash site today as investigations began into what caused the crash.