Seventeen days after an Indian Coast Guard helicopter crashed in Maharashtra’s Murud after its engine failed, its injured co-pilot Penny Chaudhary died of injuries at the naval hospital in Mumbai.
Coast guard spokesperson Commandant Avinandan Mitra confirmed her death. “Chaudhary suffered a head injury during the crash, and there was internal bleeding after the helicopter’s rotor struck her head,” Mitra told the Hindustan Times. “She had been on life support after a brain surgery at the naval hospital.”
The Indian Coast Guard helicopter had taken off from Mumbai on a routine sortie with four crew members – Chaudhary, Deputy Commandant and pilot Balwinder Singh and two divers – on March 10. The other three on board survived the accident.
The crew was forced to make an emergency landing near Nandgaon beach in Murud as they started facing technical difficulties, The Indian Express reported. The helicopter is believed to have suddenly started descending after its engine stopped working mid-air, the Hindustan Times reported. Singh and Chaudhary, however, managed to guide the chopper towards the shore, and stop it from crashing into the sea.
Chaudhary was from Karnal in Haryana, and had joined the Coast Guard in 2013. Her colleagues said she had clocked 555 hours of flying. “She was a brilliant, soft-spoken officer and popular among her colleagues for her professionalism and social conduct,” a Coast Guard official told the Hindustan Times.
“The young officer will be deeply remembered by the fraternity for her commendable devotion to duty and selfless service towards the nation,” the Indian Coast Guard said, according to The Indian Express.