COONOOR:The flight data recorder (FDR), commonly known as the black box, of the ill-fated Mi-17V5 helicopter that crashed with India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and others on board on Wednesday, has been recovered from the wreckage site near Coonoor in Nilgiris.
Indian Air Force (IAF) Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and Tamil Nadu Director General of Police Sylendra Babu rushed to the crash site early morning as India launched a mega investigation into what led to the chopper catching fire.
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The black box has been retrieved by the Army rescue team.
As the nation mourned the loss of Gen Rawat, whose impressive career in the Indian Army brought laurels to India with him overseeing counter-insurgency operations, the IAF has commissioned an inquiry into the incident to ascertain all angles of probe including any possibility of sabotage that led to the tragic incident.
The black box was taken away in an Army Toyota vehicle to a centre in Wellington from where it is likely to be sent to New Delhi or Bengaluru for analysis.
FDR holds key to events leading up to the crash. According to the Army sources, the tragic crash took place at around 12.10 pm on Wednesday when Gen Rawat and 13 others were flying to Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) in Wellington.
Sources in the Army and IAF told The New Indian that the helicopter crashed just about 15 minutes before it was to land at the Gymkhana Club helipad inside the Army Centre in Wellington.
Conspiracy theories have surfaced including that of sabotage but officials have denied any such reason for the mishap. Locals on the ground have also attributed the misty and unsafe weather on Wednesday for the pilot’s inability to see the landing site.
According to eyewitnesses, the advanced helicopter hit a tree at the reserve forest in Nanjappanchathiram before it caught fire and went up in flames.