Tawang Air Crash Reveals, Remote Army Posts Do Not Keep Body Bags

News World India | 0
| October 9 , 2017 , 10:00 IST

Armed forces personnel who pass away while on duty, whether it be by accident or intent, are given a ceremonious farewell, with the national flag draped across their caskets. However, for the 5 Indian Air Force personnel and the 2 Army jawans who were killed in a recent helicopter crash in Tawang area of Arunachal Pradesh, the mortal remains were transported in cardboard boxes, triggering controversy.

Although the soldiers received full state honours when their mortal remains were brought back, their first journey remains ignominious.

The soldiers had died on September 6 when the IAF Mi-17 V5 helicopter they were in crashed at an altitude of 17,000 feet in Tawang, near the Indo-China border. Army jawans in the area took the mortal remains on board another Mi-17 helicopter and flew to a hospital where the postmortems were done. Subsequently, the bodies were sent to the families with full military honours.

ALSO READ: 7 Killed As Air Force Mi-17 V5 Helicopter Crashes In Arunachal Pradesh

According to Army sources, at that altitude, a Mi-17 helicopter could not operate with the weight of 6 caskets, so other options had to be considered. While body bags would have been a respective means of transport, it was revealed that the smaller remote posts of the Army which are located near the China border and the Pakistan border do not store body-bags. The smaller posts have only the bare essentials required while body bags are stored at larger military camps, from the level of battalions.

The helicopter had been on an air maintenance mission when it crashed, resulting in the death of all 7 on-board.  

Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, Chief of the Indian Air Force, said, "The tail rotor of the helicopter flew off."

From the crash site, the bodies of Air Force and Army personnel were recovered, including the pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer and two army officers.