Updated: May 22, 2021 12:07:58 am
In Meerut, a wailing father clutched onto a wrinkled t-shirt belonging to his son. The t-shirt bears an Indian Military College insignia and for the father, this is the last of his memory. He was seated on the porch of his Ganganagar residence surrounded by neighbours and family members, who also wept in shock and disbelief.
“This piece of clothing belongs to my son. I will wear this because this is all that remains. I lost my lion son. Everything is over, destroyed,” said Satyendra Chaudhary, father of Indian Air Force pilot Abhinav Chaudhary, who died on Friday after his MiG-21 fighter jet crashed into an open field at Langeana village of Punjab’s Moga district.
Moga SP (HQ) Gurdeep Singh told The Indian Express, “His body was found 2 km away from the crash spot after an intense search of nearly four hours. His parachute was found open and an SOS was also sent from his device to IAF, but he had died by then. He tried to land safely using the parachute, but apparently broke his neck and spinal cord.”
There was an aircraft accident last night involving a Bison aircraft of IAF in the western sector. The pilot, Sqn Ldr Abhinav Choudhary, sustained fatal injuries. IAF condoles the tragic loss and stands firmly with the bereaved family.
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) May 21, 2021
“It was an unfortunate incident as we could not save the pilot but the jet crashed in open fields and there was no other loss of life,” Singh added.
Abhinav received his education in a Meerut school till class 7 and completed his further schooling in Dehradun thereafter. He developed a keen interest in the military at a young age and went on to pursue a course at Dehardun’s IMA. He was trained at the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad and was posted at the Pathankot base from 2014 onwards.
The squadron leader got married in December 2019, his family told. His wife, Sonika, recently returned from France after pursuing a course.
Abhinav is survived by his father, who earlier worked at a local builder’s office. According to the family, Abhinav had urged his father to quit his job as he was confident he would be able to sustain the family financially. The pilot also has a sister, who is currently in the final year of her B-Tech course, while his mother is a homemaker.
“He was supposed to come back to Meerut for leave but I told him he would be safe there. He was very keen to come back but it was I who insisted he should remain there. Early Friday morning, I received a call and they told me there was a crash and they are looking for my son. Hours later they confirmed he is no more,” Chaudhary told.
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