Woman co-pilot of crashed Coast Guard chopper dead


Mumbai, Mar 28 (IANS): An injured woman co-pilot of an Indian Coast Guard helicopter which had crash landed in Raigad on March 10, has succumbed to her injuries, an official said here on Wednesday.

Hailing from Haryana, Assistant Commandant, Capt. Penny Chaudhary, was on life support system after she sustained severe trauma injuries, and breathed her last on Tuesday evening at the INHS Asvini naval hospital, said Indian Coast Guard spokesperson Commandant Avinandan Mitra.

She suffered head injuries coupled with internal bleeding after a Coast Guard helicopter crashed near Murud in Raigad in Maharashtra, 18 days ago and the rotor hit her head.

At that time, before it developed a technical snag, the ill-fated chopper was on a routine sortie with four people on board, including Deputy Commandant Balwinder Singh, Asst. Commandant Penny Chaudhary and two divers.

Using sheer presence of mind and professionalism, she manoeuvred the chopper away from a populated area of Murud town, to make a safe landing in a rocky portion of the beach.

Not only did she save the lives of the other crew members on board, but also averted what could have been potential disaster if the chopper had crashed on the populated regions of Murud, famed for its beaches, seafood, forts and resorts.

Though she managed to escape from the crashed chopper, she was hit on her helmet by the slow-moving rotor blade soon after it landed on the rocky Nadagram beach.

A native of Karnal in Haryana, Chaudhary had joined the ICG in December 2013 and recorded 555 hours of flying to her credit.

"She was a brilliant, soft-spoken officer, who was popular among her colleagues for her professionalism and social conduct. The young officer will be deeply remembered for by the ICG fraternity for her commendable devotion to duty and selfless service towards the nation," said Mitra in a tribute.

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