A pall of gloom descended on Meenakshi Street in TVS Nagar here after information that young braveheart, K Praveen (27), who worked as a Flight Lieutenant in the Indian Air Force (IAF) had lost his life in the Uttarakhand flood rescue operations on Tuesday.
Praveen was one of two officers who had piloted the ill-fated MI-17 V5 helicopter that crashed at Gaurikund area in the flood-ravaged State.
The helicopter, carrying a 20-member crew, had been returning to camp from Kedarnath when it crashed.
While talking about Praveen’s death, V Krishnan, his uncle and neighbour, said, “We heard the news about a rescue chopper crash on TV but we didn’t connect it to Praveen and thought he was safe. He had earlier spoken with his mother, C Manjula, and explained to her about bad weather conditions there and she had blessed him and asked him to be safe. But a phone call from his Commanding Officer informed us about his death and it was a great shock for all of us.”
“When I was returning home from tuition, my grandfather asked me to come to Praveen’s house and informed us about the call. My aunt has been crying continuously. Even though the officer said he was no more, we couldn’t believe it. But once his juniors reached home, it was confirmed,” said K Vishal about his cousin’s death.
Praveen’s father had left his mother when he was just three-months-old. Working as a Southern Railway employee, his mother, along with his grand parents, raised him.
“Praveen used to excel in whatever he did. He was leader of TVS Matriculation Higher Secondary School where he did his schooling,” said Vishal, a Class 11 student of the school. Praveen studied his BE in Mechatronics at Thiagarajar College of Engineering and got placement in TCS after completing the course.