The flight recorder, popularly known as ‘Black Box’, of the ill-fated Indian Air Force(IAF) helicopter that crashed near Coonoor in Ooty leading to the loss of lives of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika, and 11 other armed personnel, was recovered on Thursday morning. The black box of the crashed Mi-17VH helicopter was found after its search area was expanded from 300 metres to one km from the accident spot by the Defence officials.
A 25 special team of the Air force officers led by Wing Commander R. Bhardwaj has recovered the black box and more details are awaited. The team has been conducting search operations since morning as the priority on Wednesday was to recover the bodies safely to Wellington Army hospital.
The black box can reveal the data about the helicopter’s final flight situation and other aspects. Though called black box, the flight data recorder is painted in bright orange colour and it records the flight data and cockpit conversations. Further forensic examination of the remains of the chopper can also reveal if there were external causes for the accident.
Meanwhile, a six-member special medical team from Coimbatore is attending the treatment of the lone survivor in the Coonoor helicopter crash, Group captain Varun Singh who is struggling for his life at the Wellington Army hospital. The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin, who is at Nilgiris, has already communicated to the Army team that the Tamil Nadu government would support the medical treatment of Group captain Varun Singh.
Sources at Wellington said that Group captain Varun Singh, who is a Shaurya Chakra awardee, suffered 60 per cent burns during the copter crash. In addition, Group Captain Varun Singh, the Directing Staff at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, Tamil Nadu, and the lone survivor of the ill-fated chopper, can also provide first-hand information on the flight.
On Wednesday, the IAF helicopter with 14 persons on board, including General Rawat and his wife, took off from Sulur airbase and crashed minutes before it was supposed to land at Coonoor.