Indian hill city where General Bipin Rawat's chopper crashed mourns, enters voluntary shutdown to pay homage

Written By: Sidharth MP WION
Coonoor Published: Dec 10, 2021, 01:49 PM(IST)

At various prominent locations in the hill towns, citizens gathered to light candles and shower flower petals on the banners bearing the photos of the 13 deceased people. Photograph:( WION )

Story highlights

The tragic helicopter crash occurred at Nanjappan Chatram, a small settlement of estate workers, in the coonoor town of Nilgiris district, as India's top military leader was headed for the nearby Defence Services Staff College, to deliver a lecture.

Tamil Nadu's oldest, most-popular, and most crowded tourist hill station - the Nilgiris district is wearing a gloomy look on Friday.

Shops, hotels, commercial establishments and non-essential services at the hill station are observing a day-long self-imposed shutdown to mourn the loss of India's Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, his wife and other defence personnel who lost their lives in a fatal helicopter crash nearly 48 hours ago. 

Home to a million people, the Nilgiris district in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, primarily depends on its vibrant tourism and hospitality sector.

×

At various prominent locations in the hill towns, members of the public gathered to light candles and shower flower petals on the banners bearing the photos of the 13 deceased people.

Rawat

The tragic helicopter crash occurred at Nanjappan Chatram, a small settlement of estate workers, in the coonoor town of Nilgiris district, as India's top military leader was headed for the nearby Defence Services Staff College, to deliver a lecture.

Rawat

Residents of this very settlement were the first responders in this case and played the most crucial roles in the initial rescue and relief efforts, besides alerting the authorities.

Being a hillside that is not directly accessible by motorable road, the victims of the crash and their mortal remains had to be carried to the ambulances that were waiting at the nearest accessible roads. 

Amid the blaze and heat of the explosion, the local residents and authorities managed to rescue three people in critical condition from the crash site and move them to the nearest Army hospital. 

However, only one victim (the pilot) among the 14 passengers on board the ill-fated Mi-17 V5 VIP chopper survived the crash and is undergoing critical care.

Read in App