A villager, who was among the group of people who first reached the helicopter crash site at Kattari Park in Tamil Nadu's Coonoor, on Thursday said that Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, was alive when they found him and was asking for water.
Talking to media persons at Coonoor, Sivakumar said: "We reached the spot immediately after the crash and found three people alive and of them, one was asking for water. We didn't have water but we immediately put the three of them on separate blankets and took them to the Wellington Army hospital."
He, however said that he did not know that it was General Rawat and could only identify him when the photographs of the late officer came out.
Sivakumar, Krishna Moorthy, and M. Ravikumar were the first people to reach the spot on hearing the crash, only to find the copter burning.
TN Police Register FIR In Coonoor Helicopter Crash
Tamil Nadu police have registered a First Information Report (FIR) in the MI17 helicopter crash that resulted in the death of 13 armed forces personnel, including Chief Of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, and 11 others.
The Nilgiris district police registered a case under Section 174 of the CrPc (Criminal Procedure Code). Sources in the Nilgiris district police said that DSP Muthumanickam was appointed as the investigating officer.
Police, according to the sources, have commenced investigation and is deploying drone over the accident site near Kateri park area where the chopper crashed on December 8 killing country's first CDS, General Bipin Rawat, and others.
Shops, hotels, and business establishments will remain shut on Friday in Ooty, the tourist destination of Tamil Nadu as a mark of respect to the departed soldiers and wife of General Rawat, Madhulika Rawat.
Meanwhile, the mortal remains of the departed soldiers were flown to New Delhi in an Air Force special craft AN 32. President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, and armed forces personnel will pay their last respects at the Air Force airport at Palam. The mortal remains are expected to reach New Delhi by 7.50 p.m.
The remains of only four people have been identified so far which include General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, Brigadier S.S. Lidder and Lance Naik Vivek Kumar.