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Two UP natives among 6 IAF men killed in J&K chopper crash

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath, while condoling the death of two IAF men from UP, said the country will never forget their supreme sacrifice

lucknow Updated: Feb 28, 2019 10:04 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Kanpur/ Agra

Two UP residents were among the six Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel killed in an Mi17 helicopter crash in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam on Wednesday.

While corporal Deepak Pandey belonged to Chakeri in Kanpur, corporal Pankaj Singh Nauhwar hailed from Mathura. Pandey was working as a helicopter technician and Nauhwar was in the maintenance department. The helicopter crashed in an open field near Garend Kalaan village in Budgam around 10.05am, officials said, adding seven bodies, including that of a local resident, were recovered from the scene. Besides the two pilots, an operator and three other crew members lost their lives in the crash, the officials said. The local resident has been identified as Kifayat Hussain Ganaie, they said.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath, while condoling the death of two IAF men from UP, said the country will never forget their supreme sacrifice. “The entire state stands with these two UP lads and their supreme sacrifice will not go in vain,” he said in a statement.

In Kanpur, a pall of gloom descended at corporal Deepak Pandey’s residence in Mangla Vihar, Chakeri his father Ram Prakash Pandey got a call from a senior IAF officer informing him about the crash.

When the officer told Ram Prakash that a search was on for the body, the father fell unconscious, a neighbour said. Residents of the entire area converged at the house to help the family in the hour of grief.

Ram Prakash Pandey, who retired from a private firm last year, later said, “India should take strong action against Pakistan so that our youngsters don’t have to die.”

He said he had spoken to his son on Tuesday and pushed him to get married.

“Deepak promised his mother over the phone that he would marry the next time he came home,” his father said.

Ram Prakash Pandey was following news about developments related to the Tuesday’s IAF strike on a terror camp when he got the call.

His neighbour Rajkamal Srivastava, who was with him, said, “I saw his face going white as he received the call. Then, he broke down and fell unconscious.” Deepak was friendly and knew everyone in the locality, he said. He passed class 12 from Saraswati Vidya Niketan at Harjendar Nagar in Chakeri here and joined the Air Force in 2012.

He was working as a helicopter technician.

Uttar Pradesh minister for industries Satish Mahana was the first to reach the house and console the family. Deepak was the elder of Ram Prakash Pandey’s two children.

District magistrate Vijay Vishwas Pant visited the family with senior superintendent of police, Kanpur, Anant Deo. Pant said the entire city was sharing the Pandey family’s grief.

In Mathura, corporal Pankaj Singh Nauhwar’s family members broke down on receiving the news of his death in the crash. People began converging at the family homes in Sarang Vihar Colony of Balaji Puram locality in Mathura city and at Jarelia village in the same district.

Nauhwar is survived by his father Subedar Major(retired) Naubhat Singh, his mother, his wife Megha and one-year-old son Rudransh, all of whom live in Mathura.

A science graduate from BSA College of Mathura, Nauhwar had joined the Indian Air Force in 2012.

He had visited Mathura on February 2 on 15-day leave and last talked to his family on Tuesday but did not discuss the escalating tension on the border, locals said.

Mathura district magistrate Sarvagya Ram Mishra said he had not received official communication but came to know of the death from the media.

“An official has been sent to his house in Mathura for a confirmation,” Mishra said.

First Published: Feb 28, 2019 10:04 IST