Sepoy Shashi Balaji hailed from Neelankori village in Tamil Nadu . He joined the Army in 2003 and worked in various army units under different operating conditions during his service of over 14 years. During 2017, Sep Shashi Balaji was serving in the North East and was associated with the IAF for air transport and logistics operations for army units deployed in remote areas.
Air Maintenance Operation: 06 Oct 2017
Indian army is deployed at many far flung areas in the north east sector where no motorable roads exist and most of the supplies are dependent on air drops undertaken by Indian Air Force as Air Maintenance operations. Sepoy Shashi Balaji was tasked to help in the air maintenance mission on 6th October 2017 for dropping supplies to Army units deployed in remote areas . The Mi-17 V5 helicopter tasked for the mission, took off from Khirmu helipad in Tawang district with five IAF and two Army personnel on board. The Mi-17 V5 is a military transport variant in the Mi-8/17 family of helicopters. The aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of 13,000 kg and can transport either 36 armed soldiers internally or 4,500 kg of load on a sling.
The area in which the chopper was flying is said to be vulnerable to dangerous weather changes. As the aircraft was on Air maintenance sortie, it was carrying supplies to the forward post in Topu Ghar near the Yangste area. This was the second air maintenance sortie of the day for the aircraft in that forward area. Unfortunately while the helicopter was around 120 Km north of Tawang and very close to the dropping zone , it lost control and crashed. The aircraft caught fire instantly as it was carrying Kerosene supplies. Sepoy Shashi Balaji and all other 6 on-board military personnel could not survive the crash.
Sepoy Shashi Balaji was a dedicated and valiant soldier and laid down his life in the service of the nation. Sepoy Shashi Balaji is survived by his wife B.V. Kanmani and two sons.