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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Family of pilot killed in IAF jet crash in Bengaluru battles shock, grief

Two Hawk advanced jet trainers of the Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team crashed into each other near the Yelahanka airbase in Bengaluru while practising for the Aero India show. While two pilots managed to eject from the aircraft and were said to be safe, Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi was killed.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2019 07:49 IST
Bhaskar Mukherjee
Bhaskar Mukherjee
Hindustan Times, Hisar
Sudesh Gandhi (C) and Madan Mohan Gandhi (R), parents of Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi (L), who was killed in the mid-air crash.
Sudesh Gandhi (C) and Madan Mohan Gandhi (R), parents of Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi (L), who was killed in the mid-air crash.(HT Photo)
         

The parents of Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi, who was killed in Tuesday’s mid-air crash between two Indian Air Force jets in Bengaluru, had no clue about the accident until a neighbour broke the news to them at their home in Hisar, Haryana.

Minutes later, Madan Mohan Gandhi, a retired banker, and his wife Sudesh were in shock as they watched the footage of the collision on TV news channels. By evening, a pall of gloom descended on the Police Line Area of Hisar where the family lives.

Two Hawk advanced jet trainers of the Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team crashed into each other near the Yelahanka airbase in Bengaluru while practising for Aero India show that begins Wednesday. While two IAF pilots managed to eject from the aircraft and were said to be safe, Wing Commander Gandhi was killed.

The IAF officer is survived by his wife Himani, and a five-year-old son, Rayan.

Just a day before his death, Sahil had asked his parents to watch his air show on Wednesday. Ashok Juneja, a family friend, said, “Sahil’s wife Himani is an engineer and is working on a project in the United States. She will be joining the family in Hisar soon.” Juneja said that the family learnt about Sahil’s death at 3.30 pm. “We came to know that during a practice session for the Surya Kiran formation, there was a mid-air collision between two jets. He used to do similar shows at Hindon in Ghaziabad,” said Dr M S Yadav, a neighbour.

Sahil Gandhi graduated from the National Defence Academy in 2000 after completing his Class XII from a Hisar school. His elder brother, Nitin Gandhi, is working on a project in Sweden. He is headed to Hisar for his brother’s rites. The body will be brought to Hisar on Wednesday.

Madan Mohan Gandhi retired from State Bank of India and Sudesh was head of the department of home science at Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar.

First Published: Feb 19, 2019 23:27 IST

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