Sumita Vijayan’s last rites performed in Gurgaon
Captain Sumita Vijayan, the pilot who died along with six other pilgrims in the chopper crash at Vaishno Devi shrine on Monday, was cremated with full state honours on Wednesday at IFFCO Chowk in the Millennium City.
Air Force officials, along with her siblings, mother and other relatives were present during her last rites. A close friend of Sumita said: “She had visited Delhi just two months ago. She was one of the most hard-working and successful women known in her family”.
“She was one of the senior-most helicopter pilots in the country. We have lost a great person and one of the most experienced pilots in the country,” she added.
Sunil, Sumita’s brother said: “She was a brave woman and our family will never forget her contribution. We are proud that she tried to handle the situation even during the last few minutes by taking the chopper to a secluded place so as to evade a bigger tragedy.”
45-year-old Vijayan was a native of Attingal in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram district. She was among the first women pilots of the Indian Air Force.
She was a 1997-batch IAF officer on Short Service Commission, retiring in 2005. Thereafter, she joined the Himalayan Heli Services Private Limited (HSPL) as chief pilot. She was single and was living alone in Dwarka since the past two years. With an experience of over 8,000 hours of flying time, she served the Air Force for 14 years. Vijayan was known to be one of the first pilots from the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering in Kedarnath to rescue people after the disastrous floods in 2013.
Vijayan was a single woman and used to visit Jammu often where her mother used to reside. Vijayan was survived by her mother, brother and sister. Her father N Vijayan died about two years ago.