Service No : 15435 F(P)

Date of Birth : February 17, 1956

Place of birth : Bhavnagar Dist(Guj)

Last Rank : Flight Lieutenant

Arm/Regt : Indian Air Force

Martyrdom : June 17, 1987

Flt Lt Indrjitsinh Dansinh Gohil

Flt Lt Indrjitsinh Dansinh Gohil hailed from Songadh village of Bhavnagar district in Gujarat and was born on 17 Feb 1956. Son of Shri Danubha Kesarisinh Gohil (who retired as a Dy. Superintendent of Police) and Smt Majirajba, Flt Lt Indrjitsinh had a brother KS Gohil as his sibling.  Flt Lt Indrajitsinh spent formative years of his schooling at Sainik School Balachadi in Gujarat.  While studying in the Sainik School, his inclination towards the Armed Forces grew and the foundation of his future military life was laid. His resolve to join the Armed Forces grew with the age and consequently, he got selected for the prestigious NDA after finishing school. He joined the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasala as part of 52nd Course and passed out in June 1977 at the age of 21 years. Thereafter he went to the Air Force Academy for his further training and got trained as a pilot as a part of the 121st Pilots' Course. Eventually he got commissioned into the Indian Air Force as a fighter pilot on 7 July 1978.


After completing his training he got posted to an operational squadron and soon gained proficiency in various air operations. During his tenure as a fighter pilot of the Mig-21 Squadron at Jamnagar, he survived an air crash on 8 June 1982, by ejecting safely. However during the crash, he sustained a compression fracture and was subsequently transferred to a helicopter squadron. After serving for some time, Flt Lt Indrjitsinh got married to Ms Aruna, daughter of Shri Majbutsinh Jadeja, an IPS officer and the couple was blessed with two daughters Krishnamala & Jagruti. After acquiring the 'operational status' as a helicopter pilot, Flt Lt Indrajitsinh soon proved his mettle as an ace pilot and undertook numerous sorties to challenging far-flung areas including the Siachen glacier. He even got selected as an instructor for the Air Force Academy and was slated to be relieved shortly from his unit, but destiny had something else in store for him. 


Flood Relief Operation (J&K):  17 Jun 1987


During June 1987, Flt Lt Indrajitsinh was serving with 131 FAC Flight based at Air Force base at Halwara in Punjab. 131 FAC Flight, one of the firsts of its kind, in terms of role, was established in 1974 at air Force base, Pathankot under the command of then Sqn Ldr MS Sekhon VrC, SC, VM. The unit was established on the Bell-47G-3 and moved to Udhampur in Sep 75. The Unit's motto of 'Savage and Powerful' was related to its important role that of a FAC (Forward Air Control). By its accurate guidance to fighter aircraft on to the target the unit helicopters assisted in the destruction of the enemy's important assets. The unit also undertook various other air operations which included providing aid to civilian authorities in times of need. On 17 June 1987, Flt Lt Indrajitsinh Gohil was assigned the task of one such operation along with his co-pilot Flying Officer Praveen Sharma. The unit at that time was operating a Cheetah helicopter, a single-engine helicopter, of 1970s vintage derived from the French Alouette. The Cheetah Helicopter was known to be a high-performance helicopter designed for operation over a very wide range of weight, center of gravity and altitude conditions. The five-seater Cheetah helicopter was versatile, multi-role, multi-purpose, highly maneuverable, and rugged in construction. It was suitable for commuting, observation, surveillance, logistics support, rescue operations, and high-altitude missions.


The task of Flt Lt Indrajitsinh Gohil on that day involved shifting seriously sick citizens from the flood-affected area in Kashmir valley to Jammu Hospital. Flt Lt Indrajitsinh along with his co-pilot Fg Offr Praveen Sharma in their Cheetah SA-315 took off as planned from the Air Force air base at Udhampur to Padder in Kishtwar Tehsil with relief supplies for the affected people. However as the helicopter was flying at a low level over the Chenab river, it got entangled with an aerial rope used for shifting timber near Khilani village, 3 Kms from the district headquarter of Doda in Jammu & Kashmir. As a result, the helicopter's propellers stopped rotating and it crashed into the Chenab river.  Flt Lt Indrajitsinh and Fg Offr Praveen Sharma jumped out of the helicopter and dived into the Chenab river which was in spate. Both brave hearts tried their best to swim ashore but were caught in the swirling current of the river and lost their lives. Despite the untiring rescue efforts launched by the Air Force along with the Army and local administration for over a month, the bodies of the pilots could not be recovered. Eventually on 13 July 1987, the bodies were recovered from the Salal Hydel Project about 150 kms downstream from the mishap site. Flt Lt Indrajitsinh Gohil was a valiant air warrior and professionally competent pilot, who laid down his life at the age of 31 years in the line of his duty. 


Flt Lt Indrajitsinh Gohil is survived by his wife Smt Aruna Gohil, daughters Krishnamala & Jagruti and brother Lt Col KS Gohil (Retd). Following the legacy of Flt Lt Indrajitsinh Gohil, his daughter Krishnamala joined the Army and was commissioned on 22 Sept 2007 in the Army Ordnance Corps. 

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