All military personnel in helicopter crash identified

Among those whose mortal remains have now been identified, two are from the Indian Army and four are from Indian Air Force

New Delhi: The armed forces were able to identify the mortal remains of six more military personnel who were killed along with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat in the Mi-17V5 helicopter crash on Wednesday near Coonoor. Their mortal remains were sent on Saturday to their respective states by air for last rites.

The severity of the air crash had led to difficulty in positive identification of the mortal remains of those killed. Initially, only the mortal remains of Gen. Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and Brig L.S. Lidder (Defence Advisor to the CDS) could be identified. Their final rites were conducted on Friday with military honours.

Among those whose mortal remains have now been identified, two are from the Indian Army and four are from Indian Air Force. The mortal remains of all Indian Air Force personnel who died in the crash have now been identified.

Out of the total 14 persons onboard the ill-fated helicopter, 13 had succumbed to their injuries, including Gen Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat.

Now, the mortal remains of four personnel have been left to be identified, including Lt. Col. Harjinder Singh (Gen Rawat's Staff Officer), Havildar Satpal Rai, Naik Gursewak Singh, and Naik Jitendra Kumar.

"Positive identification of mortal remains of Lance Naik B Sai Teja and Lance Naik Vivek Kumar has been done," said a senior Army officer on Saturday morning.

He said that their mortal remains have been released to close family members.

"Mortal remains will move by air for last rites with appropriate military honour," he said. The officer said that efforts to "positively identify remaining mortal remains are continuing."

"Identification of all 4 IAF personnel completed," said a senior Air Force officer. They are Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan, Squadron Leader Kuldeep Singh, Junior Warrant Officer Rana Pratap Das, and Junior Warrant Officer Arakkal Pradeep.

"I express my condolences to all brave warriors who died in the helicopter crash on December 8. The demise of India's first CDS Gen. Bipin Rawat, is a loss to every patriot. He was brave and worked hard to make the country's armed forces self-reliant, the nation is a witness to that," said Prime minister Narendra Modi during a rally in Balrampur.

Mr Modi said that India is mourning "but despite being in pain, neither do we stop our pace nor our development. India won't stop." "India won't be at a standstill. Together, we Indians will work hard & face every challenge inside and outside the country," said Mr Modi. The Prime Minister also said that doctors are working hard to save the life of Group Captain Varun Singh. "I pray to Maa Pateshwari to save his life. The nation stands with his family. The country also stands with the families who lost those brave soldiers, '' he added.

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