The family of army officer Major Abhijai Thapa, who was killed in a chopper crash at Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh on October 1, has urged the state government to recognise his heroic act which saved lives of at least hundreds of people.
Major Thapa, 29, who was serving in the Army Aviation Corps, was killed with his two colleagues after their chopper crashed due to some technical snag. Having been a trained pilot, Major Thapa had an experience of more than 250 flying hours and was posted with 39 (Independent) Recce and Observations Flight under the Uttar Bharat Area Headquarters at Bareilly.
The family members of the deceased soldier said that the information they have gathered from the media revealed that Major Thapa, on the fateful day, had successfully conducted a sortie and was returning to the aviation base when a technical snag developed in the chopper.
“He promptly brought the problem to the notice of air traffic controller (ATC) and tried desperately to rush back the chopper to the base,” said a relative of Major Thapa.
“At that time the chopper was flying over a densely-populated village, Bhartaul. Major Thapa using his flying skills, presence of mind and patience, diverted the chopper away from village towards an open place,” he added.
They said that Major Thapa did not land the chopper at an open place, a ground where a gathering of 400 -500 people was spotted.
“Keeping their safety as a primary concern he took the chopper towards aviation base, switched of the engine and disconnected the fuel supply. While performing the exercise Major Thapa could not get time to eject as the chopper was very close to the ground,” they said.
The family members said that Major Thapa, being a selfless solider, made supreme sacrifice by taking a bold decision at the hour of crisis, even as he could have saved his own life by landing in the open space.
“His sacrifice should not go unnoticed and we want the state government to recognise his heroic act in form of support to the family or in form of an award,” said the family members. Major Thapa is survived by his wife, parents and grandfather.