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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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!
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Picture credit: India Today