This Article is From Dec 09, 2021

Air Force Officer's Last Conversation With Family Before Chopper Crash

Wing Commander PS Chauhan was the pilot in command of the Mi-17 V5 helicopter with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on board

Wing Commander PS Chauhan joined the Air Force in 2000


At her home in Uttar Pradesh's Agra, Sushila Chauhan is now recounting every word spoken during her telephonic conversation with her son on Tuesday night.

Little did she know then that this was the last time she was hearing the voice of her son, Wing Commander P S Chauhan.

Hours later, the Air Force officer was killed in the helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu that claimed 13 lives, including those of India's first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat.

He was the pilot in command of the Mi-17 V5 helicopter that crashed shortly after it took off from the Air Force base in Sulur at 11.45 am, Coimbatore, for Wellington in the Nilgiri Hills. He leaves behind his wife, a 12-year-old daughter and a nine-year-old son.

Family members said Wing Commander Chauhan was the youngest of five siblings, with four elder sisters who doted on him. After passing out of Sainik School at Rewa in Madhya Pradesh, he joined the Air Force in 2000. The officer married in 2007.

Shell-shocked by the loss of his son, Surendra Singh Chauhan could only say that he came to know about the mishap from news reports. "He would talk to everyone with affection."

Later, when senior officials from the administration and police visited him, Mr Chauhan broke down. 

Uncle Yashpal Singh Chauhan said they are yet to get any official communication regarding Chauhan's death.

Mina Singh, the Air Force officer's sister, said she last met her brother in Rakhi this year. "After 31 years, we all got together for Rakhi this year. He doted on his sisters, if we asked for anything, he would ensure it's done," she said, fighting back tears.

The officer's mother Sushila Chauhan said she had dozed off with the TV on. "When I woke up, I got a call from his father-in-law. He told me," she said.  

General Rawat was on his way to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington to address the faculty and students when the crash took place.

The helicopter would have landed in 10 more minutes when it came down, barely 10 km from a road. The Air Force has ordered an Inquiry into what happened.