Express News Service
LUCKNOW: A pall of gloom descended in Kanhauli village in Rudrapur tehsil of Deorai on Wednesday when the news of the IAF chopper crash came.
Gallantry award winner Group Captain Varun Singh, who is the sole survivor of the mishap, originally belongs to this village in eastern UP.
All the villagers are praying for the quick recovery of their brave son, who was decorated with Shaurya Chakra this Independence Day. Group Captain Singh comes from a family of defence personnel spanning the three services.
While Group Captain Singh is from the IAF, his father, Colonel (retd.) Krishna Pratap Singh was an Army officer from the regiment of Army Air Defence (AAD). Varun Singh’s younger brother Lieutenant Commander Tanuj Singh is an officer in the Indian Navy.
Currently, the family of the Group Captain is settled in Bhopal. Varun Singh happens to be the nephew of Akhilesh Pratap Singh, the national spokesman of the Congress party.
At his ancestral home in Kanhauli, his uncles Dinesh Pratap Singh, Umesh Pratap Singh, Ramesh Pratap Singh and Akhilesh Pratap Singh live and all of them are said to be in constant touch with the IAF authorities over the condition of the IAF officer. Varun has two children.
When contacted by The New Indian Express, Akhilesh Pratap Singh, the Congress spokesman, stricken with the tragedy, could not speak much but said that Varun was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital in Wellington in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. “He has undergone a number of surgeries since Wednesday and the doctors have said that the next 48 hours are crucial for him. His wife Geetanjali was with him in the hospital. She told us that Varun has received severe burns in the crash,” said Akhilesh Pratap Singh.
However, a source claimed that the injured group captain was being moved to Bengaluru and that his father Lt Col KP Singh had reached Wellington.
Varun’s initial education was done in Odisha. He joined IAF after clearing the NDA exam. Group Captain Varun Singh received the Shaurya Chakra for showing exemplary courage in saving his Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter during an aerial emergency as a test pilot with IAF in Bengaluru. Group Captain Varun Singh saved the LCA despite the threat to his life.
His aircraft had lost all control and he had a miraculous escape at that time. He is presently posted as an Instructor at the Staff College, Wellington.
In the fateful chopper flight, Group Captain Singh was accompanying Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat as a liaison officer. Family sources said that Group Captain Singh was conscious before being taken for surgery and wished to speak to his wife.
Group Captain Varun Singh had served at Gorapkhpur AIF base from 2007 to 2009.