Indian defense chief General Bipin Rawat and 12 other people were killed in a helicopter crash, with one survivor being treated for his injuries.
Rawat was India’s first chief of defense staff, a position that the government established in 2019, and was seen as close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The 63-year-old was traveling with his wife and other senior officers in the Russian-made Mi-17 chopper, which crashed near its destination in southern Tamil Nadu state.
“His untimely death is an irreparable loss to our Armed Forces and the country,” defense minister Rajnath Singh says on Twitter.
Footage from the scene showed a crowd of people trying to extinguish the fiery wreck with water buckets while a group of soldiers carried one of the passengers away on an improvised stretcher.