Know Group Capt Varun Singh (Shaurya Chakra) Lone Survivor Of Tamil Nadu Chopper Crash

New Delhi: Group Captain Varun Singh of the Indian Air Force (IAF) is the sole survivor of the chopper crash that killed Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor, according to an India Today report.

Group Captain Varun Singh was awarded Shaurya Chakra on this year’s Independence Day for saving his LCA Tejas fighter aircraft during an aerial emergency in 2020. He sustained critical injuries, is undergoing treatment at the Military Hospital in Wellington, IAF said in a tweet.


On August 15 this year, then Wing Commander Varun Singh, a pilot in a Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Squadron, was conferred with the Shaurya Chakra, India’s third-highest peacetime gallantry award, for his act of exceptional gallantry.

Wing Commander Varun Singh, was on October 12, 2020, flying a system check sortie in LCA, away from the parent base, after major rectification of the Flight Control System (FCS) and pressurisation system (life support environment control system). During the sortie, the cockpit pressurisation failed at high altitude, read a statement issued by the Defence Ministry

“He correctly identified the failure and initiated a descent to lower altitude for landing. While descending, the Flight Control System failed and led to total loss of control of the aircraft. This was an unprecedented catastrophic failure that had never occurred,” the Defence Ministry statement had said.

There was a rapid loss of altitude while in usual attitude, with the aircraft pitching up and down viciously going to the extremities of G limits. Despite being in extreme physical and mental stress in an extremely life-threatening situation, Wing Commander Varun Singh maintained exemplary composure and regained control of the aircraft, thereby exhibiting exceptional flying skill.

Soon thereafter, at about 10,000 feet, the aircraft again experienced a total loss of control with vicious manoeuvring and uncontrollable pitching. Under such a scenario, the pilot was at liberty to abandon the aircraft. Faced with a potential hazard to his own life, he displayed extraordinary courage and skill to safely land the fighter aircraft, the statement noted.

The pilot went beyond the call of duty and landed the aircraft taking calculated risks. This allowed an accurate analysis of the fault on the indigenously designed fighter and further institution of preventive measures against recurrence.

“Due to his high order of professionalism, composure and quick decision making, even at the peril of his life, he not only averted the loss of an LCA, but also safeguarded civilian property and population on the ground,” the statement further said.

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