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IAF chopper crash: Group Captain Varun Singh succumbs to injuries

The lone survivor of the Tamil Nadu Helicopter crash passed away today. Group Captain Varun Singh had been on life support for the past week since the IAF’s Mi-17v5 helicopter carrying him, General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika and 11 other military personnel crashed near Coonoor on December 8. He succumbed to his injuries today. He was admitted to the Air Force Command Hospital in Bengaluru.

With Group Captain Varun Singh dead, all the passengers of the helicopter are deceased. The IAF expressed their condolences in a tweet:

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Just as the news came out, President Ram Nath Kovind, the supreme commander of the armed forces said that even after getting adversely injured in the chopper crash, Singh didn’t give up, the nation is grateful to him, he added.

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PM Narendra Modi said that Varun Singh served the nation with ‘pride, valour and professionalism’; he further added that he was ‘extremely anguished by his passing away’ and that his service to the nation will never be forgotten.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh attended the cremation ceremony of the victims last week, He tweeted:

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Group Captain Varun Singh suffered severe burns and injuries and had been in critical condition since then. On December 9, Rajnath Singh informed the Parliament that a tri-service enquiry is ordered to investigate the helicopter crash. This enquiry team will be headed by Air Marshal Manavendra Singh (senior-most serving helicopter pilot – IAF). He was the Commanding – in –Chief Training Command and also the Director-General of Inspection and Flight Safety for IAF.

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Varun Singh, 39, was Directing Staff at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington where the CDS were headed for a lecture that week. He was awarded the Shaurya Chakra on Independence Day this year for his ‘high order of professionalism, composure and quick decision making,’

He was awarded for a recent incident that happened a year back in October 2020. He was flying LCA, Tejas as a Wing Commander and had to make a close call as the cockpit pressurization failed at a high altitude. Even being under immense physical and mental stress he managed to take back control of the aircraft portraying his excellent flying skills. However at 10,000 ft altitude, Tejas lost total control, instead of abandoning it, he landed it taking a calculated risk.

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