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Coonoor IAF chopper crash survivor Varun Singh is no more

The only survivor of the Coonoor helicopter crash, Group Captain Varun Singh, passed away in Bengaluru military hospital on Wednesday morning.

NEW DELHI, Dec 15: The sole survivor of the Coonoor IAF helicopter crash that killed Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 armed forces personnel on December 8, Group Captain Varun Singh, died in the military hospital in Bengaluru on Wednesday morning. He was shifted to the Bengaluru hospital from the Wellington military hospital in Tamil Nadu located near the crash site, last Thursday. He had suffered 80 per cent burns.

"The IAF is deeply saddened to inform the passing away of braveheart Group Captain Varun Singh, who succumbed this morning to the injuries sustained in the helicopter accident on 08 Dec 21. IAF offers sincere condolences and stands firmly with the bereaved family," said an Air Force statement.

"Group Captain Varun Singh served the nation with pride, valour and utmost professionalism. I am extremely anguished by his passing away. His rich service to the nation will never be forgotten. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika and 12 armed forces personnel were flying from Sulur air base in Coimbatore district to Wellington defence staff college in nearby Nilgiris district when their Russia-made Mi-17V5 Air Force chopper crashed in Coonoor forests minutes before landing. All but Group Captain Varun Singh perished in the country's most tragic military mishap. General Rawat was going to Wellington to deliver an address at the defence staff college there. He had left Delhi for Sulur air base in the morning in a military plane. Group Captain Varun Singh posted at the college had come to Sulur to accompany the CDS as a liaison officer.

Group Captain Varun Singh, a Shaurya Chakra award-winning officer, was the sole survivor, who was pulled out of the debris and taken to the nearby Wellington military hospital with 80% burns. He continued to be in coma and had been put on life support system.

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