The death of India’s first Chief of Defence Staff and longest-serving four-star officer General Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor serves us as a reminder of the eminent personalities of the nation who too met their end in air crashes.
On a quick recall, in the year 2011, Arunachal Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu was found dead near the China border five days after his helicopter went missing.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, in the year 2009, was aboard the twin-engined Bell 430 helicopter which crashed in the state’s Nallamala Hills.
In a chopper crash in 2005, two ministers of Haryana were killed on their way to Chandigarh from Delhi. In this crash, the then Haryana Power Minister and acclaimed industrialist OP Jindal, along with then Agriculture Minister of the state Surender Singh died.
Lok Sabha Speaker and Telugu Desam leader GMC Balayogi also died in a chopper crash in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh in the year 2002.
Aboard his private chartered Cessna aircraft, senior Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia was also killed in a crash in 2001. He was on his way to Uttar Pradesh”s Kanpur.
In the year 1994, Punjab Governor Surendra Nath along with nine members of his family was killed in a crash after the government’s Super-King aircraft crashed due to bad weather in Himachal Pradesh.
The younger son of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi, who himself was a pilot, was killed after the glider, Pitts S-2A, he was flying crashed in 1980.
However, in luck was the fourth Prime Minister of India, Morarji Desai who survived the crash of aircraft Tu-124 (V-643) Pushpak in 1977. Desai was en route to Jorhat from Delhi when the aircraft crashed at Takela Gaon village in Assam.