Service No : 25307
Birth Place : Patiala, Punjab
Service: Air Force
Last Rank: Wing Commander
Unit : 115 HU AF
Operation : CI & IS Ops
Date of Martyrdom : Jul 04 , 2017
During 2016-17, Wg Cdr Mandeep Singh Dhillon was commanding 115 HU AF based at Air Force station Tezpur in Assam. During July 2017, parts of North East faced torrential rains and land slides necessitating massive rescue operations. His unit was entrusted with the job of providing help to the beleaguered civilians in the inaccessible areas of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
Helicopter Crash: 4th July 2017
As part of ongoing rescue operations in Assam and parts of Arunachal Pradesh, 115 HU unit had planned a number of sorties on 04 July 2017. One ALH of the unit tasked for the operation was being flown by Flt Lt Pramod Kumar Singh and his commanding officer Wing Commander Mandeep Singh Dhillon. The two pilots carried out sorties to rescue stranded people at Sagalee village following major landslides in Papum Pare district in Arunachal Pradesh. The pilots continued their missions despite inclement weather conditions as precious civilian lives had to be saved.
Wg Cdr Mandeep Singh Dhillon and Flt Lt Pramod Kumar Singh carried out 5 sorties during the day rescuing over 100 people trapped in remote areas. As the day progressed the weather deteriorated further making the task of the flying crew riskier. When Wg Cdr Mandeep Singh Dhillon and Flt Lt Pramod Kumar Singh came for their sixth sortie the weather had turned hostile to the extent that they decided not to take the civilians onboard and risk their lives. The ALH took off for the return journey only with the flying crew but the helicopter lost communication with the ground — the Air Traffic Control (ATC) in Chabua in Assam, minutes after it took off from Sagalee village. It was evacuating people from Sagalee to the helipad at Naharlagun near Itanagar. The rescue teams of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Arunachal Pradesh Police were formed to trace the helicopter but the rescue operation was called off due to the bad weather. The wreckage of the helicopter was found on Wednesday 5 July 2017 in Sopo Yuha, near Hostalen village, about 30 Kms from Itanagar.
Wg Cdr Mandeep Singh Dhillon, Flt Lt Pramod Kumar Singh and flight Gunner Sgt Gujjar could not survive the crash and laid down their lives in the service of the nation. Wg Cdr Mandeep Singh Dhillon is survived by his wife Prabpreet Kaur, son Ishar and daughter Sehaj.
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