Gauchar June 26: The day after MI-17 V5 helicopter crashed in Gaurikund during rescue operations in Uttarakhand, the Indian Air Force has confirmed that among the dead are its five personnel on board , Wing Commander Darryl Castelino, Flight Lieutenant K Praveen, Flight Lieutenant Tapan Kapoor, JWO AK Singh and Sergeant Sudhakar Yadav, all from the 157 Helicopter Base in Barrackpore, West Bengal.
On Tuesday on its third rescue operation of the day, the Russian made MI-17 V5 helicopter the Wing Commandr Castelino was commanding crashed in treacherous terrain while running from Kedarnath. All 20 people on board feared dead and for now 12 bodies have been recovered, IAF sources said.
In a condolence message the Air Force said, "You all have done us proud, for you gave your life in service of your countrymen without discretion of colour, cast, creed and religion and more importantly, in their hour of need. You are now a guiding beacon in our deeds. Your selfless sacrifice in Operation Rahat is monumental and just remembering it would be more than any pilgrimage to us.''
The message is signed Brothers in Arms and the IAF family. And as a postscript says, "We will rest, but only after the rescue mission."
IAF Chief NAK Browne is in Uttarakhand to boost the morale of his men.
(with PTI inputs)