Guwahati, Jun 11: The Indian Air Force on Thursday, Jun 11 released the name all the 13 members on board crashed IAF aircraft, AN-32. Meanwhile, two villagers claimed they had seen the plane exploding in mid-air.
The IAF Eastern Command in Shillong released the names of seven IAF crew members and six Army personnel who died in the mishap: Wing Commander Gitesh Jit Singh Butalia, Wing Commander P K Saji, Squadron Leader P Siddharth, Squadron Leader Manash Mishra, Flight Lieutenant Varun Kumar, Master Warrant Officer Ramesh, Aircraft Attendant Sanjay Kumar, Gunners V Singh, K Kumar, S Kumar, Naik B S Nanwhegh, Sepoy A K Tirkey and Radio Mechanic R Wangchuk.
AN-32 was being captained by Wing Commander 'Boots' Butalia (36), an experienced transport pilot based in Jorhat. He is survived by wife Vaishali and twin boys who turned seven recently.
Among the dead was Varun Kumar, a young officer, who was on his first posting. He celebrated his 24th birthday in May. Flight Lieutenant Varun Kumar, who graduated recently from the pilot training school, hailed from Haryana. The only child of his parents, he had been awarded a commendation for 'outstanding performance and devotion to duty' by the Chief of Air Staff.