UPDATED 6:40 PM PT – Wednesday, December 8, 2021
India’s Air Force confirmed the deaths of the country’s top military commander and 12 others following a helicopter crash.
Officials said Gen. Bipin Rawat and 12 others, including his wife, were killed on Wednesday when the aircraft went down while in route to a military college. One person survived the crash and was rushed to a nearby hospital.
Investigators are now trying to determine the cause of the wreck as the reason for the crash was not immediately known.
Rawat was India’s most senior military official and the country’s first chief of defense staff. Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered condolences, adding Rawat was an outstanding soldier who greatly contributed to modernizing India’s armed forces.
“A true patriot, he greatly contributed to be modernizing our armed forces and security apparatus. His insights and perspectives on strategic matters were exceptions,” wrote Modi on Twitter. “His passing away has saddened me deeply.”