Kerala flood hero perishes in Kashmir chopper crash

In July last year, he was posted to Srinagar along with his wife, after being transferred from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. 

Published: 28th February 2019 09:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th February 2019 09:35 AM   |  A+A-

A file photo of IAF Squadron leader Siddharth Vashisht (inset) on a rescue mission during the Kerala floods | Express

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Squadron leader Siddharth Vashisht, 31, who was among air force personnel killed in the Mi-17 crash at Garend Kalaan village in Budgam in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, was a fourth generation member in the defence services.

Even his wife Arti is a squadron leader in the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Siddharth, an alumnas of Shivalik Public School and DAV College in Chandigarh, was commissioned in the IAF in 2010 and earned a commendation for his superlative role in the rescue operations during the Kerala floods last year.

In July last year, he was posted to Srinagar along with his wife, after being transferred from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. 

“My son was flying this helicopter, as he was the main pilot. He was inspired to join the IAF by his uncle Vineet Bharatwaj, a fighter pilot, who died in a crash 17 years ago,” Jagdish Kasal, father of the deceased air warrior, said.

Fighting back tears, Jagdish, who had served in the army before joining the Punjab National Bank, met hundreds who came to pay condolences at his home.

“Siddharth married in 2013 and has a two-year-old son named Angad. Arti, was on leave for a month in Gurugram, when, following the spike in tension on the LoC, her leave was cancelled and she had to report back to duty. She was informed midway, that Siddharth was no more and she will only be able to attend his last rites,” Jagdish said.

“The IAF officers posted in Srinagar informed me in the afternoon that my son had died in the crash,” he added.

Siddharth was the youngest among four siblings, three of whom are sisters. Apart from his father, his great grandfather and grandfather, besides had also served in the armed forces. 

Last Monday, he had come for two hours to meet the family on his way to Srinagar from Delhi,” a close relative said. The family, which now resides in Chandigarh, hails from Naraingarh in Haryana.

Vikrant Sehrawat, another IAF personnel who perished in the chopper crash, belonged to Badhani village in Jhajjar. A pall of gloom descended on the village as the news of Vikrant’s demise reached locals. He is survived by his wife and two children. 

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