IAF\'s lone survivor of chopper crash Group Captain Varun Singh dies of injuries

The Group Captain was recently conferred with the Shaurya Chakra by President Ram Nath Kovind for his act of exceptional gallantry

New Delhi: Indian Air Force fighter pilot Group Captain Varun Singh, who was the lone survivor from Mi-17V5 helicopter crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu last week, succumbed to the injuries sustained in the accident in a Bengaluru military hospital on Wednesday morning.

Group Captain Singh, 39, a Shaurya Chakra awardee, was undergoing treatment at Command Hospital, Bengaluru, after the helicopter crash on December 8 in which Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other military personnel were killed. With this, all 14 persons on board the ill-fated helicopter that day have died of their injuries.

Gp Capt Singh’s mortal remains will be airlifted to Bhopal on Thursday. His funeral will be held on Friday, December 17, in Bhopal.

“The IAF is deeply saddened to inform of the passing away of braveheart Group Captain Varun Singh, who succumbed this morning to the injuries sustained in the helicopter accident on 08 December 2021. The IAF offers sincere condolences and stands firmly with the bereaved family,” the Indian Air Force said in a tweet.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Gp Capt Varun Singh had served the nation with pride, valour and the utmost professionalism. “I am extremely anguished by his passing away. His rich service to the nation will never be forgotten. Condolences to his family and friends,” tweeted Mr Modi.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh also said he was pained beyond words to learn of the demise of Gp Capt Singh. “He was a true fighter who fought till his last breath. My thoughts and deepest condolences are with his family and friends. We stand firmly with the family, in this hour of grief,” said Mr Singh.

Gp Capt Singh was shifted from the Military Hospital, Wellington, to the Command Hospital, Bengaluru, last Thursday as his condition had turned critical and he was on life support.

Gp Capt Singh was awarded India’s third highest peacetime gallantry award, the Shaurya Chakra, on Independence Day this year for saving his LCA Tejas fighter aircraft when it developed a technical snag during a sortie in October last year.

His Shaurya Chakra citation said despite being in extreme physical and mental stress in a life-threatening situation, he maintained exemplary composure and recovered the aircraft, exhibiting exceptional flying skill. “Faced with a potential hazard to his own life, he displayed extraordinary courage and skill to control and safely land the fighter aircraft, saving hundreds of crores,” it said.

Gp Capt Singh graduated from the National Defence Academy in 2003 and was commissioned as a fighter pilot in 2004. He mainly flew Jaguars and Tejas aircraft during his flying career. He was an experimental test pilot. He was currently posted at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington as an instructor. Gp Capt Singh is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. His father, Col. K.P. Singh (Retd), had served in the Army Air Defence (AAD). Gp Capt Singh’s family originally hailed from Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh and is now settled in Bhopal.

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