The Tri-Services Court of Inquiry into the Mi-17V5 accident on 8 December, 2021, that killed Chief of India’s Defense Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat, his wife and 12 other defense personnel, has submitted its preliminary findings.
“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,” an official release said.
Based on its findings, the Court of Inquiry has made certain recommendations which are being reviewed, an official release said.
The inquiry team analyzed 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.
Among 14 passengers on board the ill-fated Mi-17V5 chopper, 13, including General Bipin Rawat's wife Madhulika Rawat, died on the same day. IAF Group Captain Varun Singh battled for a week before he succumbed to his injuries on December 15.
According to the Indian defense ministry, as many as 21 people have died in four accidents involving IAF Mi-17V5 helicopters in the last five years. The previous three accidents took place in November 2021, April 2018 and October 2017 in which seven persons were killed.