A pall of gloom descended as the body of Flight Lt S Achudev, one of the two IAF pilots who was killed after their Sukhoi-30 fighter jet crashed in Assam on May 23, was brought to his home here today. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan paid tributes to the late officer and spent some time with the bereaved parents – V P Sahadevan, a retired officer of ISRO here, and mother Jaishree.
The parents had gone to IAF’s Tezpur airbase as soon as they had heard about the incident and returned yesterday. The last rites of the 25-year-old IAF pilot are expected to be held at the family’s ancestral home in Kozhikode tomorrow. Senior Air staff officer Headquarters, Southern Air command, Air Marshal Rajiv Sachadeva also paid tributes to the pilot and consoled the parents. Devasom minister Kadakkampally Surendran was among those who visited the pilot’s home here and paid their respect.
The wreckage of the Sukhoi-30 MKI jet was found on May 26 in a dense forest area in Arunachal Pradesh after a three-day search operation. The plane had taken off from Tezpur airbase at around 10:30 am on May 23 and had gone off the radar around 11:10 am. It was on a routine training mission as part of a two-aircraft formation. The wreckage of the jet was spotted from air on May 26, and search teams could reach the crash site only on May 28 due to inclement weather after which the black box was recovered.
Bodies of Squadron Leader D Pankaj and Achudev were recovered on May 31 in the dense forest area on the hills in Assam-Arunachal Pradesh.