Gen Rawat's chopper crashed due to spatial disorientation of pilot in clouds, says Court of Inquiry
New Delhi, January 14, 2022
The Court of Inquiry (COI) which probed the crash of an Indian Air Force helicopter on December 8 in the misty Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu, in which Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and 12 others were killed, has said the accident was caused by the spatial disorientation of the pilot in the clouds.
"The accident 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," the Tri-Services Court of Inquiry said in its preliminary findings submitted to the IAF.
The COI has ruled out mechanical failure, sabotage or negligence as a cause of the accident, an official press release from the Ministry of Defence said, citing the findings, said.
The inquiry team analysed the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder of the ill-fated Mi-17 V5 helicopter, besides questioning all available witnesses to determine the most probable cause of the accident.
Based on its findings, the Court of Inquiry has made certain recommendations which are being reviewed, the release said.
Apart from Gen Rawat, the first Chief of Defence Staff, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others were killed in the crash that occurred around nooon that day near Coonoor in the Nilgiri Hills. One other person, who suffered critical injuries, died in a hospital in Bengaluru a few days later.