The lone survivor of the unfortunate helicopter crash in India on Wednesday, Dec. 8, has been airlifted and reportedly undergone three operations so far.

According to sources in Coimbatore, Group Capt. Varun Singh is in critical but stable condition after he was airlifted to Bengaluru for better treatment. He reportedly suffered 45% burnt injuries from the crash that claimed the life of 13 people – including India's Chief of Defense Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat and his wife, Madhulika Rawat.

"Group Captain Varun Singh is on life support in the Military Hospital at Wellington and all efforts are being made to save his life,” Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said to Parliament in an update on Thursday, Dec. 9.

Singh was awarded the Shaurya Chakra on Independence Day this year for saving his LCA Tejas fighter aircraft during an aerial emergency in 2020 according to India Today.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter that crashed was a Soviet-designed Mi-17V-5, CNN reported.

It took off from Sulur Airbase at 11:48 a.m. local time and was due to land in the town of Wellington at 12:15 p.m.

At 12:08 p.m., air traffic control lost communication with the aircraft.

A forest fire in the town of Coonoor drew the attention of and forces rushed to the scene. It was here when they spotted the wreckage of a military helicopter engulfed in flames.

Aside from India’s Chief of Defense and his staff, 11 other military personnel also perished in the helicopter crash.

As of this writing, the cause of the crash has yet to be known and the Indian Air Force is currently conducting a tri-service inquiry - a high-level special force command.

The remains of Gen. Rawat were scheduled to arrive in New Delhi on Thursday. His family will pay their respects before he is cremated on Friday, Dec. 10, with full military honors, according to the Indian Army.

India helicopter crash
Army personnel carry out an investigation procedure at the crash site in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, on December 9, 2021 a day after an army helicopter crashed, killing 13 people, including Indian defense chief General Bipin Rawat. Getty Images | ARUN SANKAR/AFP

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