The Tri-Services Court of Inquiry constituted to probe the cause of the Mi-17 V5 accident that claimed the lives of late Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and his wife and 12 other military personnel onboard on December 8, has ruled out mechanical failure and said that entry into clouds led to the spatial disorientation of pilot leading to the accident.
The tri-services inquiry had submitted its preliminary findings to the Defence Minister last week. The probe ruled out mechanical failure, sabotage, or negligence as a cause of the accident. According to the statement of the Indian Air Force, the cause of the unfortunate accident was attributed to the unexpected change of weather conditions in the valley.
The inquiry was headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command.
“The inquiry team analysed the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder besides questioning all available witnesses to determine the most probable cause of the accident. The Court of Inquiry has ruled out mechanical failure, sabotage, or negligence as a cause of the accident. The accident was a result of entry into clouds due to unexpected change in weather conditions in the valley,” said the statement.
“This led to spatial disorientation of the pilot resulting in Controlled Flight into Terrain. Based on its findings, the Court of Inquiry has made certain recommendations which are being reviewed,” it added.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) had presented a detailed tri-services inquiry report to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the Mi-17 chopper crash on December 8.
General Rawat was headed to Defence Services Staff College in Wellington to address the faculty and student officers of the Staff Course when his chopper crashed. General Rawat’s wife Madhulika Rawat, his Defence Adviser Brigadier Lakhbinder Singh Lidder, Staff Officer Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, Group Captain Varun Singh, and nine other armed forces personnel including the Air Force helicopter crew lost their lives in the accident.