Who Were the IAF Officers Killed in Mi-17 Chopper Crash in Budgam
Out of the six, two pilots belonged to Uttar Pradesh.
The mortal remains of pilot Ninad Mandavgane and Siddharth Vashisht – who died in an IAF helicopter crashed in Jammu and Kashmir two days ago – were consigned to flames with full military honours in Nashik and Chandigarh on Friday, 1 March.
Six Indian Air Force officers, including the two pilots, were killed in a Mi-17 V5 helicopter crash on Wednesday, 27 February, in Jammu and Kashmir's Budgam. The officials said the Mi-17 chopper snapped into two and caught fire immediately. A civilian was also reportedly killed in the crash.
The statement of the IAF said, "A court of inquiry has been ordered to investigate the accident." The statement also said that the pilots were on a routine mission.
Sqn Leader Vashisht Received Commendation for His Role During Kerala Floods Rescue
The last rites of of Squadron Leader Vashisht was performed in Chandigarh on Friday, 1 March, with full military honours.
In her uniform, the deceased officer’s wife, Aarti, who is also a squadron leader, laid a wreath before the last rites were performed. Siddharth Vashisht’s father lit the funeral pyre.
Vashisht, 31, was a fourth-generation member from his family in the armed forces. His wife, too, is a serving as a squadron leader in the Indian Air Force.
He was commissioned in the IAF in 2010 and last month, he received commendation for his role in the rescue operation during the Kerala floods.
Don’t Want War, Says Wife of Squadron Leader
Sqn Ldr Ninad hailed from Nashik, and is survived by his parents, wife and daughter. He had reportedly served in Guwahati and Gorakhpur before he was posted to Kashmir. Before the funeral pyre was lit by Mandavgane's father, the Nashik unit of IAF and city police gave a 21-gun salute.
Vijeta Mandavgane, wife of Squadron Leader Mandavgane, has called for calm between India and Pakistan, The Indian Express reported.
“We do not want war. You do not realise the damage a war inflicts on people… No other (Sqn Ldr) Ninad should be lost from either side,” Vijeta said.
“I would want to request these social media warriors to stop doing what they are doing. Nothing will come out of this. If you have so much ‘Josh’ then join the force and see how it feels,” Vijeta said, as quoted by The Indian Express.
Two Pilots Belonged to Uttar Pradesh
Corporal Deepak Pandey and Pankaj Kumar Singh hail from Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow and Mathura respectively.
While Pandey had joined the IAF five years back, Singh joined in 2012.
Singh is the son of retired army personnel Nauhbat Singh. He got married to Medha Chowdhary from Bulandshahr in 2015 and the couple have a one-and-a-half-year-old son. He had returned to duty after a 15-day leave on 2 February.
‘Pilot of Mi-17 Saved Many Lives’
According to Scroll.in, a government employee said that the pilot of the IAF chopper that crashed "must be a great person" as "he avoided civilian area, sacrificed his own life but saved many others".
Residents from the Garend Kalan village told The Quint that a flying machine, most likely a helicopter of the Indian Army or Indian Air Force, crashed and caught fire at around 10:15 am.
Deputy Commissioner of Budgam Syed Sehrish confirmed to The Quint that an aircraft crashed near the village, about seven km from the district headquarters. She said that a team of officials had been rushed to the village.
‘No Role of Pakistan’
As per initial reports, it is believed that the crash occurred due to a technical snag in the air.
Within a few minutes, reports of two Pakistan Air Force aircraft infiltrating the LoC came through. However, Pakistan Armed Forces Spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor said that Pakistan has no connection with the crash of the Mi-17 in Budgam.
“There are reports of crash of an Indian aircraft on the Indian side (in Budgam). We had no engagement with that aircraft,” Ghafoor said.
(With inputs from PTI, IANS, Indian Express, Scroll.in and NDTV)
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