Thursday, August 22, 2019

Old friends & colleagues remember Captain Lal as a daring pilot

Dehradun: Many of those who knew Captain Lal remembered him as a daring pilot who performed several rescue sorties during the 2013 Kedarnath relief operations as well as several other natural disasters.
On Wednesday, Captain Lal took off from the Sahastradhara helipad at 8 am to take relief material to Uttarkashi district. His chopper met with the accident while returning. Eyewitness claimed that smoke had starting emitting from the chopper before it crashed.
Captain Lal had earlier served in the Army aviation wing and was trained in highly specialised naval chopper operations. He had quit the Army in 2009 and had been working with Heritage Aviation in Uttarakhand for more than eight years.
Remembering Captain Lal, director of Heritage Aviation Rohit Mathur said, “He loved the challenges of flying in Uttarakhand and over the years, he had become an expert in disaster relief operations. He was part of the massive rescue operations during the 2012 Uttarakashi floods, the 2013 Kedarnath tragedy and several other assignments.”
 Captain Lal’s friend, former pilot Lt Commander Sidhartha Bhadula, told TOI, “It is extremely tragic. He was with the naval chopper operations for two years and that was where we met. He was married to former Miss India and TV actress Shikha Swaroop but they had later separated.”
He added that the tragedy could have been averted if the state had a dedicated ‘helicopter cell.’ “Why is the planning of disaster operation by choppers confined to building ill-equipped makeshift helipads? The state government must look into these aspects,” said Lt Commander Bhadula.
22/08/19 Yogesh Kumar/Times of India
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