Captain Penny Chaudhary, one of India’s few women helicopter pilots, passed away on Tuesday (28th March) after putting up a brave fight for 17 days. The Coast Guard Assistant Commandant was the co-pilot of the helicopter that crash-landed in Murud, Raigad, on March 10.
The helicopter was on a routine sortie with four passengers — Deputy Commandant Balwinder Singh, Assistant Commandant Chaudhary, and two divers Sandeep and Baljeet — when it crash landed.
Chaudhary was one of the first women defence chopper pilots of India
Chaudhary sustained severe head injuries. She was admitted at the naval hospital INHS Asvini in south Mumbai’s Colaba. After undergoing a surgery, she was kept on life support.
When the helicopter engine shut mid-air, the pilot and the co-pilot used the rotor’s movement to glide the chopper towards the shore to prevent it from falling into the sea. They attempted to land the helicopter on a sandy part of the beach but couldn’t. It landed on a rocky patch on Nadagram beach.
Chaudhary was the first to disembark from the crashed helicopter. Unfortunately, she was hit on her helmet by the rotor blade which was moving slowly.
A Coast Guard spokesperson confirmed Chaudhary’s demise. Coast Guard officials said Chaudhary had suffered internal bleeding and other injuries after the chopper’s rotor struck her head.
We salute the braveheart!
Picture credit: India Today