Coffins bearing the mortal remains of army soldiers who died when their truck plunged into a gorge in Sikkim, were flown to their homes scattered across the country, after a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at Bagdogra airport in North Bengal on Saturday.
After the last post was sounded at the wreath-laying ceremony, 15 of the bodies were flown by special Air Force aircraft to various airports in the country, from where they will be taken to the victims’ towns or villages, the Army said.
The body of Naib Subedar Chandan Kumar Mishra, who belonged to Khagaria in Bihar, was taken to his village by road.
“After the bodies reach the native places of deceased soldiers, local Army authorities will coordinate the handing over of mortal remains to the family members and conduct of funeral with full military honours," an Army official said.
The 16 bravehearts lost their lives when the Army truck they were travelling in skidded down a steep slope at Zema in North Sikkim on Friday morning.
Wreaths were laid on the mortal remains of the deceased soldiers at Bagdogra airport, near Siliguri city, at a solemn ceremony after the bodies reached the facility shortly after 12.30 pm from Libing helipad in East Sikkim, an Army official said.
The deceased were accorded a gun salute.
Sikkim Governor Ganga Prasad, Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Trishakti Corps Lt General VPS Kaushik, and other Army and Air Force officials paid their last respects to the deceased soldiers, he said.
The mortal remains were earlier brought to Sochethang near Gangtok in Army vehicles from the accident site and post-mortem examinations were conducted before being sent to Gangtok for the ceremony.
Senior civil and police officials were also present at the hospital to pay their last respects to the departed souls.
The ill-fated Army truck in which the deceased jawans were travelling was part of a three-vehicle convoy that was travelling from Chatten to Thangu, the Army statement said.
The vehicle skidded down a steep slope while negotiating a sharp turn, leading to the death of 16 Army men, including three junior commissioned officers, it said.
A rescue operation was immediately launched and four injured soldiers were air evacuated to Siliguri and they are undergoing treatment at a military hospital.
The deceased soldiers are Naib Subedar Chandan Kumar Mishra and Naib Subedar Omkar Singh of 285 Medical Regiment, L/Havildar Gopinath Makur, Sepoy Sukha Ram, Havildar Charan Singh and Naik Ravinder Singh Thapa of 26 Mechanised Infantry, the Army said.
Mishra hailed from Khagaria in Bihar, while Omkar Singh was from Pathankot in Punjab, Makur from Bankura in West Bengal, Ram from Jodhpur in Rajasthan, Charan Singh from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh and Thapa from Pantnagar in Uttarakhand.
From the 221 Field Regiment, Naik Vaisakh S and Naik Pramod Singh were among the deceased, while from the 25 Grenadiers, four soldiers who perished in the accident are L/Naik Bhupendra Singh, Naik Shyam Singh Yadav, Naik Lokesh Kumar and Grenadier Vikas Kumar.
Vaisakh was from Palakkad in Kerala, Pramod Singh hailed from Ara in Bihar, Bhupendra Singh was from Eta, Yadav was from Unnao, Lokesh Kumar from Muzaffarnagar, all three places in Uttar Pradesh, while Vikas Kumar was a resident of Fatehabad in Haryana.
Subedar Guman Singh and L/Havildar Arvind Singh from 8 Rajasthan Rifles, L/Naik Somvir Singh of 113 Engineer Regiment and L/Naik Manoj Kumar of 1871 Field Regiment were also among the soldiers who died in the accident, the Army said.
Guman Singh was a resident of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, while Arvind Singh was from Bhiwani in Haryana, Somvir Singh hailed from Hissar in Haryana and Manoj Kumar from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan.
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