Locals from Katteri village were the first to reach the site of the crash

The Indian Air Force on Saturday thanked the local villagers, Nilgiris district administration and the Tamil Nadu chief minister's office for prompt assistance in the rescue operations following the helicopter crash in which CDS Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 armed forces personnel lost their lives.

Locals from Katteri village were the first to reach the site of the crash and had informed the police and the fire departments about the accident.

"IAF thanks the prompt and sustained assistance provided by the Office and Staff of @CMOTamilnadu, @collrnlg, Police officials and locals from Katteri village in the rescue and salvage operation after the unfortunate helicopter accident," the IAF said in a tweet.

On Wednesday, the Chief of Defence Staff was on his way from Sulur airbase to Wellington where he was scheduled to deliver a lecture at Defence Services Staff College.

The Mi-17V5 helicopter of the Indian Air Force ferrying him crashed before reaching the destination.

Besides Gen Rawat and his wife Madhulika, those killed in the crash included Brig LS Lidder, the defence assistant to the Chief of Defence Staff, and staff officer Lt Col Harjinder Singh.

The other personnel killed in the crash are Wing Commander PS Chauhan, Squadron Leader K Singh, JWO Das, JWO Pradeep A, Havildar Satpal, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitender Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar and Lance Naik Sai Teja.

Group Captain Varun Singh, the lone survivor of the crash, is battling for life at the Command Hospital in Bangalore.