Wing Commander Mandeep Singh Dhillon, who died in a helicopter crash in Arunachal Pradesh last week, chose to go for a flood relief operation on that ill-fated day than taking his unwell daughter to a hospital, the IAF said today. Two other IAF personnel -- co-pilot Flight Lieutenant P K Singh and Sergeant R Y Gujar, the flight gunner, and Indian Reserve Battalion jawan Nada Umbing had also lost their lives in the crash. Dhillon, who hailed from Patiala, was the commanding officer of the Tezpur-based Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) unit and the chopper he was piloting was on a mission to rescue flood-affected people in Arunachal Pradesh. Before leaving for the mission, Dhillon's wife Prabhpreet Kaur wanted her husband to take their daughter to the medicare centre of IAF's Tezpur base as she was running fever, the IAF said in a release. "But he said he would not be able to, as he had to go for a flood relief mission.
And, in the process of saving other lives he ended up losing his own life," the IAF quoted his wife as saying. Recalling their life together for the last nearly 14 years, she described her husband as someone who was very compassionate and helpful towards anyone in need. "He would always volunteer for such rescue and relief missions ahead of others. Flying for flood relief or casualty evacuation always remained his top priority," Kaur recalled. On the ill-fated day, the crew evacuated 169 civilians to safety, the IAF said. With nearly 4,000 hours of total flying experience, Dhillon was one of the highly experienced helicopter pilots, the IAF said while paying glowing tribute to him. His father P S Dhillon was a squadron leader in the Air Force and had served as a flight engineer in Mi-4 helicopters in the 1970s, it said.
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