Major Atul Garje
Experienced and meritorious flyer Atul Garje, who was India’s youngest flying instructor. He was part of Exercise VAYU KAUSHAL to rehearse Army war plans. On the fateful day Atul along with a co-pilot took off from the Army aviation base from Jodhpur to take part in Yuva Kaushal exercise in Bangalore. Enroute to Nasik they halted and just minutes after they took off the engine of the chopper failed. But what can be termed as a supreme sacrifice, they steered their crashing helicopter towards open space to avoid civilian casualties on the ground.
In addition, within few seconds he also cut the fuel supply, which avoided the chopper from blasting and burning. Since there is an artillery base nearby at Deolali, which could have blown off more than half of Nasik city had the chopper blasted mid-air. Major Atul Garje, his presence of mind, bravery and courage averted this disaster and saved many innocent civilian lives thus putting an end to his dreams forever.
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