Air Force helicopter with military chief on board crashes killing 11

This is the dramatic moment rescuers rush to put out the flames of a crashed helicopter that carried India's military chief and his family.

At least 11 people died in the accident when the Mi-series chopper carrying India's Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, his wife and other staff members when it came down in a forest in Wellington, south India.

Video shared onto social media shows local rescuers scramble to the crash site and conduct a frantic search for survivors.

Thick plumes of smoke can be seen billowing out of the helicopter and some survivors are put on a stretcher as they are taken to a nearby hospital.

The search crew said they also recovered a number of bodies among the debris.

Bipin Rawat was understood to be en route to Wellington from the Indian Air Force base in Sulur near Coimbatore and was roughly 10 minutes away from the destination at the time of the crash.

Also on board were his defence assistant, security commandos and an IAF pilot.

Local sources say three people with serious burn injuries have been rescued so far while a search is still on for the others.

The injured were taken to the hospital at Wellington cantonment in Nilgiris district.

The Indian Air Force confirmed the incident on Twitter and said an inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.

They tweeted: "An IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter, with CDS Gen Bipin Rawat on board, met with an accident today near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu.

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"An Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India's defence minister Rajnath Singh have been briefed on the incident.

One local source said: "The identity of those who have died has not been released as the bodies are said to be beyond recognition.

"11 bodies have now been recovered and those three injured in the hospital have 85 per cent burn injuries so it will take some time for identification to be carried out.

"Only the tail of the aircraft is visible at the crash site."

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