Woman co-pilot of crashed ICG chopper dead, funeral in Haryana on Thursday

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

The body of Assistant Commandant Penny Chaudhary is being sent to her home in Haryana’s Karnal where the last rites will be performed on Thursday.

Earlier, a large number of her colleagues and Coast Guard officials paid homage to her body draped in the national tricolor which was kept for some hours at the ICG offices this afternoon.

Chaudhary, 27, was on life support system after she sustained severe trauma injuries, and breathed her last on Tuesday evening at the INHS Asvini naval hospital where she was undergoing treatment since the past 17 days, said ICG Deputy Commandant and spokesperson Avinandan Mitra.

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She had sustained severe head injuries coupled with internal bleeding after the helicopter crashed near Murud in Raigad and the rotor hit her head.

At that time, before it developed a technical snag, the chopper was on a routine sortie with Deputy Commandant Balwinder Singh and two divers also board.

Using sheer presence of mind and professionalism, Chaudhary 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 the unmarried pilot 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. The other passengers on board escaped with minor injuries.

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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.

–IANS

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