31-yr-old Squadron Leader from Chandigarh among dead in Budgam chopper crash
Squadron Leader Siddharth Vashisth was among the six air warriors who died after a Mi-17 V5 helicopter of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday morning.
With his head up and chest taut, Jagdish Kasal, was a picture of bravery after the death of his only son, Squadron Leader Siddharth Vashisth, who was among the six air warriors who died after a Mi-17 V5 helicopter of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday morning.
The 31-year-old fourth generation defence personnel had received a commendation on January 26 for his exceptional contribution towards rescue operations during the Kerala floods.
At their Army Housing Board flat in Sector 44, Kasal, a former army officer himself, shared that Siddharth was posted to 154 Helicopter Unit in Srinagar last July.
The family was informed of the helicopter crash around 1:30pm, with the IAF officials confirming that the helicopter took off from Srinagar airfield at 10am for a routine mission and crashed near Budgam.
“His great grandfather, grandfather and me too served in the armed forces. Of his two maternal uncles, who served the IAF, the younger one, Wing Commander Vineet Bharadwaj, also died in a MiG 21 crash in February 2002,” shared Kasal, adding that inspired by his uncles, Siddharth always wanted to join IAF.
Youngest of four siblings, Siddharth last visited his family for two hours on February 18.
His wife Sqdrn Ldr Aarti is also posted in Srinagar, but currently on leave in Gurgaon. “She was to join duty soon, but is now heading to Chandigarh with their two-year-old son Angad for Siddharth’s last rites,” his father shared, adding that they were yet not sure of the body’s arrival.
An alumnus of Shivalik Public School and DAV College in Chandigarh, Siddharth joined the air force in 2010 after clearing the Combined Defence Services exam.
The family hails from Hamidpur village in Naraingarh, Ambala, where Siddharth’s 78-year-old grandmother Kanta Devi lives. She reached here on hearing the news.