The Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) Bipin Rawat lost his life along with his wife and 11 other passengers in a helicopter crash on Wednesday (December 8, 2021) near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu. He was the country’s first Chief of Defense Staff. Before taking over as the CDS, he served as 57th and last Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee as well as the 26th Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army.
Alongside Rawat, a host of prominent Indian personalities have lost their lives due to an air crash.
Here’s a timeline:
Aug 18, 1945: The founder of Azad Hind Fauj, Subash Chandra Bose according to scholars has died in a plane crash that was travelling from Taipei to Manchuria. But his death has been widely contested by family members and followers.
Jan 24, 1966: Father of Indian Nuclear programme Nuclear scientist Homi J Bhabha was killed when Air India Flight 101 crashed near Mont Blanc, Switzerland. He was 56 years old at the time of his death.
May 31, 1973: Former Loksabha MP and Congress leader Mohan Kumaramangalam was killed in the crash of Indian Airlines flight 440 in Delhi on May 31, 1973, at the age of 56.
June 23, 1980: Sanjay Gandhi, a politician, and son of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, died in an air crash while piloting a biplane over Delhi.
1990: Industrialist Ashok Birla and his wife Sunanda died in a plane crash in Bangalore.
1994: Former Governor of Himachal Pradesh Surendra Nath was killed along with nine members of his family when the aircraft carrying them crashed in the high mountains of Himachal Pradesh.
Sep 30, 2001: Former Union Minister and Lok Sabha MP Madhavrao Scindia died at the age of 56, in a plane crash in the outskirts of the Mainpuri district of Uttar Pradesh.
March 3, 2002: Lok Sabha Speaker and Telugu Desam leader G.M.C. Balayogi also died in a chopper crash in 2002 in Andhra Pradesh.
17 April, 2004: South Indian actress and member of the Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) KS Sowmya, popularly known as Soundarya lost her life at the age of 31, in a helicopter crash while traveling to Karimnagar from Bangalore during an election campaign for the party.
March 31, 2005: Former power minister of Haryana and leading industrialist O.P. Jindal and state agriculture minister Surendra Singh were killed when their chopper developed a technical issue and crashed near Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
September 2, 2009: Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy died when the helicopter carrying him crashed in the forests of Nallamala at the age of 60.
30 April 2011: Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu lost his life when the helicopter carrying him crashed in the West Kameng district of the state. He was 56 years old at the time of his death.