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Coonoor Chopper Crash: He told mother about her doctor’s appointment, assured her she would be fine

🔴 Family members said Prithvi, who went to Sainik School in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, joined the Indian Air Force in 2000 after finishing NDA. His first posting was in Hyderabad.

Written by Manish Sahu | Lucknow |
Updated: December 10, 2021 6:03:42 am
Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan, Prithvi Singh Chauhan, Indian Air Force, Coonoor Crash, Coonoor Chopper Crash, IAF Chopper Crash, General Bipin Rawat death, Bipin Rawat dead, Coast Guard, Indian army, Indian Express, India news, current affairs, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsPortraits of the deceased people, including that of Gen Bipin Rawat’s wife Madhulika, on display. (Anil Sharma)

THE FIRST thing 75-year-old Surendra Singh Chauhan did after television channels started flashing news of the helicopter crash near Coonoor on Wednesday was to call up his son, Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan, who was posted at Sulur Indian Air Force station near Coimbatore.

On finding his son’s phone switched off, the worried father called up his eldest daughter Shakuntala Tomar, who is settled in Mumbai, and asked her to collect details of the crash.

Shakuntala immediately called up Prithvi’s wife Kamini, who told her that Prithvi was in the helicopter. Hours later, the family’s worst fears were confirmed: there was only one survivor of the crash and it was not Prithvi.

“He (Surendra) kept surfing news channels to know more details of the crash. In the evening, when Shakuntala informed about Prithvi’s death, we were shocked,” said Yashpal Singh (57), Prithvi’s uncle.

As the news spread of the 42-year-old’s death, people in large numbers, including political leaders, started visiting the family home at Saran Nagar in Agra. On Thursday, Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya visited the family.

The only son – and the youngest among his five siblings – Prithvi was close to his parents and would keep in touch over the phone regularly. He last called them three days ago, said Yashpal, when he had a long chat with his 70-year-old mother Sushila.

During the conversation, he said, “Prithvi told his mother that he had fixed an appointment for her [for a vision condition] at the military hospital in Agra and also spoke to doctor. He assured her that she will be fine soon. Since coming to know of the death, Prithvi’s mother is in shock.”

“Prithvi was the only member in our family, who had a government job. He inspired the children in the family who would look up to him for advice on joining the IAF. He was soft-spoken and was an inspiration for our family,” said Yashpal, who along with his six brothers runs a bakery business in Agra.

Family members said Prithvi, who went to Sainik School in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, joined the Indian Air Force in 2000 after finishing NDA. His first posting was in Hyderabad.

Prithvi got married to Kamini in 2007 and the couple have a daughter Aaradhya (12) and a son Aviraj (6). They last visited home in Agra in August this year. He stayed for around 15 days and celebrated Raksha Bandhan three of his sisters.

“Prithvi used to meet his sisters regularly but they could not meet on Raksha Bandhan. This time, after 31 years, they all met on Raksha Bandhan,” said his uncle.

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