On February 27, when the entire nation was praying for the safety of Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was taken into custody by the Pakistan Army after his aircraft crashed into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), we lost lost six IAF personnel in a Mi-17 V5 helicopter crash in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam district. Amongst the deceased were Wing Commander Sidharth Sharma and Squadron Leader Ninad Mandavgane. Pakistan Air Force Pilot Shahzaz Ud Din Whose F-16 Was Shot Down by Wg Cd Abhinandan Varthaman Mistaken to be Indian; Lynched by PoK Locals?
The other IAF personnel who lost their lives in the crash were identified as Sergeant Vikrant Sherawat, Corporal Deepak Pandey, Corporal Pankaj Kumar and engineer Vishal Kumar Pandey. One Civilian was also killed in the crash. The 20-year-old Kifayat Hussain, was caught in the explosion after the crashed helicopter landed in fields in Budgam. The accident occurred at 10:10 am in the morning on February 27. Lockheed Martin Busts Pakistan’s Lie; American Aircraft Manufacturer Not to Sue India For Claiming IAF’s MiG-21 Bison Shot Down PAF F-16 Fighter Jet.
Yesterday, the last rites of Wing Commander Vashisht was performed in Chandigarh. The IAF officer’s wife, Aarti is also a squadron leader. She laid a wreath before the last rites were performed. The IAF officer was a fourth-generation member from his family in the armed forces. He was commissioned in the IAF in 2010 and last month, he received commendation for his role in the rescue operation during the Kerala floods.
Last rites of Wing Commander Vashisht:
India will always remember your martyrdom Hero #SiddharthVashisht.
Squadron Leader Aarti Singh, wife of Squadron Leader #SiddharthVashisht who was pilot of the #Mi17 @IAF_MCC that crashed in.
I pray to God to give you and family the power to bear this suffer.
— Natin Singh (@natinsingh7) March 1, 2019
Meanwhile, the last rites of Sq Ldr Mandavgane were performed at Amardham Crematorium in Nashik were performed at Amardham Crematorium in Nashik on Friday with full state honours. People who gathered in large number at the crematorium to bid adieu to the pilot, shouted slogans for the martyr. On this his wife asked people to join defence forces instead of shouting slogans. who died in the line of duty. Last rites of Sq Ldr Mandavgane:
#Alert | The mortal remains of Squadron Leader Ninad Mandavgane who lost his life in the Mi-17 crash #Budgam on Wednesday reached #Nashik. The officer will be cremated with full state honours. #NinadMandavgane @IAF_MCC @nsitharaman @DefenceMinIndia pic.twitter.com/iWKuIAVvyn
— Pune Mirror (@ThePuneMirror) March 1, 2019
The crash took place at around 10:00 am when the IAF was responding to the air space violation by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). Initially, there were rumours that the ill-fated Mi-17 chopper was attacked by the PAF which crossed the Line of Control on Wednesday. Pakistan later denied any involvement in the crash. Meanwhile, on March 1, Pakistan released Wing Commander Varthaman after he was taken into custody by the Pakistan army after his fighter plane Mig-21 Bison crashed into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir during an ensuing battle. In the engagement, he also shot down Pakistan’s F-16 warplane before getting hit.