Lt Col KV Thomas ( 704/ 1976) was among the three that perished with the BSF helicopter on anti-Naxal duty that crashed on the outskirts of Ranchi today, killing the other pilot Captain S P Singh and technician Manoj Kumar Swain on board. On an anti-Naxal reconnaissance, the HAL – make Helicopter caught fire and crashed in the Kolad forest at Khakra village.
According to the Jharkhand police spokesperson R.K. Mallik said: The chopper crashed at 9 a.m., 20 minutes after it took off from the Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi. It was going to Chaibasa. It caught fire due to technical difficulties. We cannot say the exact reason. Only after an investigation by experts can we come to any conclusion.
According to a report in the Telegraph, “the Dhruv, which exploded mid-air before disintegrating into pieces, is the second BSF chopper flown by Pawan Hans that crashed this year.”
As the bodies are badly burnt, the Central Reserve Police Force deployed in that area has a problem in identifying them. Even the helicopter is completely burnt. Two bodies have been recovered, Mr. Mallik said.
When the helicopter caught fire, it was 3,500-4,000 feet above the ground. So there was no possibility of any Maoist attack. There is no civilian casualty as it crashed in a dense forest.
Lt Col KV Thomas (Retd) was commissioned into the Regt of Arty on 07 June 1980. A very respected officer and a perfect gentleman, his demise leaves an irreparable void in the Gunner Fraternity. Lt Col Thomas had joined Pawan Hans approximately a year ago and had been flying helicopters pressed into anti-Naxalite operations and deployed in Ranchi.
Lt Col KV Thomas is survived by his wife, Annie and two boys, George and Raphael. While Annie teaches in a school in the NCR region, older son is a B Com student and the younger is still in school.
The Burial is scheduled at 3.00 p.m.on 21 October 2011 at ‘Our Lady of Lourde’ Church situated at Sector 19, Dwaraka, New Delhi.
Visit the Online Tribute Page for Lt Col KV Thomas here.
The TimesNow Report on the incident.
A non-syndicated video footage of the incident area.
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