Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence: #1: R.I.P: Four years after lying in coma following ALH crash, IAF’s top Sarang stunt pilot Wg Cdr Jetly dies

Thursday, January 13, 2011

#1: R.I.P: Four years after lying in coma following ALH crash, IAF’s top Sarang stunt pilot Wg Cdr Jetly dies

Four years after the ill-fated crash of IAF’s Sarang ALH chopper in Bangalore, the pilot who hung on to life in a stage of coma, is no more. Wg Cdr Vikas Jetly passed away on January 11. Jetley’s co-pilot Sqn Ldr Priye Sharma had died during the crash in 2007.
It was on 2 Feb 07 that a brand new ALH rolled out of HAL’s Helicopter Division in Bangalore, donning the mesmerizing colors of Sarang, crashed at the Yelahanka air base during a normal practice sortie. The helicopter crashed after a hard left turn at low-altitude, readying itself for the show-stopper cross-over maneuver. The incident happened just 5 days before the Aero India 2007.
Military sources tell Tarmak007 that the Jetly was admitted to Command Hospital in Bangalore for a long time and the doctors trying everything to bring him back to normal life. He is survived his by wife Shalini and two children. His colleagues in the Sarang Aerobatic Team remember him as an extremely brave pilot. 
HAL went out of its way, thanks to former chairman Ashok K. Baweja, to help  the families of both pilots. Shalini was given an employment at HAL Liaison Office in Delhi, but had to proceed on a long leave owing to domestic issues.
A solid chap, who encouraged youngsters: Ex-team member 
"He was a solid chap. Sober. He was a man of few words. What made him different was that he always encouraged youngsters. His energy levels were very high. He was the main member of the formation flying," recalls one of his former team members. "He was part of the Sarang team right from the beginning of the team's  formation (2003). He was a Cheetah pilot, who used to operate in Leh. He was picked for the aerobatic team, purely due to his excellent flying skills. He was an extremely fit person. We will miss him for a long time to come," the pilot, who was part of the first batch of Sarang said.
"He was a good guy. I remember him as a very disciplined pilot, always smiling. Very friendly," says an IAF spokesperson, who had seen Jetly from very close quarters, during his initial days in IAF.
(Stay tuned for an update on this story)

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