Group Captain Varun Singh, who was rescued after the helicopter crash that killed Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and 12 others on December 8, died today.
Group Captain Singh was being treated for severe burns at a Bengaluru military hospital after he was moved from Wellington in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor.
He had been on life support, according to officials.
The Indian Air Force said he died of his injuries this morning.
“The IAF is deeply saddened to inform the passing away of braveheart Group Captain Varun Singh, who succumbed this morning to the injuries sustained in the helicopter accident on 08 Dec 21. IAF offers sincere condolences and stands firmly with the bereaved family,” said an Air Force statement.
In the past week, there had been a deluge of wishes and messages for the Shaurya Chakra award-winning officer, who was the only one to be pulled out alive after the helicopter crash killed India’s top General. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in mourning his death.
“Group Captain Varun Singh served the nation with pride, valour and utmost professionalism. I am extremely anguished by his passing away. His rich service to the nation will never be forgotten. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti,” posted PM Modi.
Exactly a week ago, General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika and 12 others were flying from Sulur Air Base to Wellington when their Mi17V5 Air Force chopper crashed in the hills seven minutes before landing.
What caused the crash is being investigated by a top level inquiry.
Group Captain Singh was first treated at the military hospital in Wellington. He was shifted to the Bengaluru Command Hospital last Thursday.
The officer’s father, Colonel KP Singh, had last week described his son as a fighter.
The Air Force officer won the Shaurya Chakra in August for his courage in handling his aircraft after it was hit by a snag during a sortie last year. He managed to land his Tejas fighter safely.
Fellow officers grieved the loss of one of the nation’s finest.
Recently, a letter that Group Captain Singh had written to his school after receiving the Shaurya Chakra had gone viral.
“It is ok to be mediocre… but it is by no means a measure of things to come in life. Find your calling… whatever you work towards, do your best… never lose hope,” he had said in the letter, describing himself as an average student who found his calling and worked hard to excel in it.