India’s top military commander has been killed in a helicopter crash in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the country’s Air Force says.
Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others died after the Mi-17V5 helicopter came down in hills near Coonoor city on Wednesday morning.
One survivor is being treated for his injuries in hospital.
Gen Rawat, 63, was appointed India’s first-ever Chief of Defence Staff in January 2019.
This brought together the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, and Gen Rawat had been in charge of a range of operations including in Indian-administered Kashmir.
The Indian Air Force said it had ordered an investigation into the accident, which happened in foggy weather. A cabinet security committee is holding an emergency session, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Twitter, Mr Modi said: “[Gen Rawat] brought with him a rich experience of serving in the Army. India will never forget his exceptional service.
“A true patriot, he greatly contributed to modernising our armed forces.