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Friends Organise Quiz Contest in Honour of IAF Pilot Who Died in Arunachal Crash

Flight Lieutenant Sunit Mohanty and 12 others had died after their aircraft that took off from the Jorhat air base crashed in Siang District, Arunachal Pradesh.

Karishma Hasnat | CNN-News18

Updated:October 15, 2019, 12:24 AM IST
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Friends Organise Quiz Contest in Honour of IAF Pilot Who Died in Arunachal Crash
File photo of Flight Lieutenant Sunit Mohanty.

Guwahati: It was fine weather in Mechuka valley of Arunachal Pradesh on June 3, 2019 – the day 13 officers of the Indian Air Force (IAF) went missing during a routine maintenance and familiarisation sortie.

After taking off from the Jorhat air base in Assam, the Antonov An-32 that was heading to the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Shi-Yomi district had disappeared from radar. Eight days later, the wreckage was spotted at the Pari Hills of Siang district, 12,000 feet from the last recorded aircraft position.

Flight Lieutenant Sunit Mohanty and 12 others on board the aircraft died in service of their nation. The cause of the crash is yet to be known, though a court of inquiry by the IAF is in progress.

Mohanty was born in Chennai on November 7, 1990. His father, retired Group Captain Surendranath Mohanty, and mother Sanjukta Mohanty live in Delhi. In a bid to keep alive memories of the air warrior, who was popular as a quiz wiz in his college days, his friends have decided to organise a fundraising quiz event.

“The Monty Quiz is a memorial quiz to pay tribute to Flight Lieutenant Sunit Mohanty and his love for quizzing. Sunit’s family and I had discussed that we want to find ways to keep his memory alive. To the world, he was an air force pilot, but there was so much more to him — we wish to honour those aspects of his life as well. The event will be held on his birthday at his alma mater, NIT Jamshedpur. The quiz is open to all educational institutions across the country, basically colleges at undergraduate and postgraduate levels,” said Radhika Rawat, Mohanty’s friend.

“We were together in college for four years and Sunit had won a lot of prizes in inter-college quiz competitions. We want to do this for him. The event will have a cash reward of Rs 75,000 for the winners – Rs 35,000 as first prize and Rs 25,000 and Rs 15,000 as second and third prizes, respectively,” said Vaibhav Sunit, who along with few others have registered on Milaap, the online crowdfunding platform.

“Sunit and I last spoke on the phone on June 1. He was at a unit party and sounded exuberant. He was a man of very few words, but that evening, he spoke a lot. On the morning of June 3, we were texting each other when he mentioned he had to go start an aircraft. I did not realise until 4pm that my messages did not reach him. Soon after, I found out about the incident from one of his colleagues, and it was then when my world came crashing down,” said Radhika.

Flight Lieutenant Sunit Mohanty also took a keen interest in photography as his Facebook profile revealed. “He was a photography enthusiast and loved the mountains. Once during a lunar eclipse, he climbed up the ATC tower with his camera and tripod, and waited for about 45 minutes to capture the moment,” said Radhika.

As the country celebrates Air Force Day on Tuesday, Mohanty’s friends lauded the heroic efforts of the air warriors who have touched so many lives through their service.

“The IAF pilots in the northeast fly in such treacherous, unpredictable and unforgiving terrain for the security of the nation, but they are all exceptionally well-trained. I hope they continue to carry out their duty just as brilliantly as they always have,” Radhika said.

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