A video of Chetan Kumar comforting an injured IAF pilot emerged on social media after two Surya Kiran aircraft crashed in Bengaluru.

Wanted him to be OK Bluru man who comforted Surya Kiran pilot speaks to TNM
news Aero India 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 15:50

“Stay calm,” consoles a man as he holds the hand of an injured IAF pilot, who had parachuted out of his jet in Bengaluru on Tuesday. A heartwarming video of a civilian comforting an IAF pilot emerged on social media after two Hawk MK-132 aircraft attached with the Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team collided with each other during a practice sortie ahead of Aero India 2019 on Tuesday morning. While Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi was killed in the crash, two other pilots of team 2IC Wing Commander Vijay Shelke and Squadron Leader Tejeshwar Singh were injured and have been moved to Command Hospital.

It has now emerged that the man who comforted the injured IAF pilot after the crash was Chetan Kumar BM, a 22-year-old aeronautical engineering student, who lives near Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bengaluru. Recalling the events that unfolded on Tuesday morning, Chetan says he saw an explosion in the sky. 

"I saw two jets collide. I could tell they were from the Surya Kiran team because of the colour of the jets. Then I saw two pilots eject and it looked like they were coming down their chutes through the fire. I also remember my building shook so badly and I did not think at all. I just ran outside," Chetan Kumar told TNM. 

One of the pilots, who had ejected, landed just 30 metres away from Ultimate Signature Apartment in ISRO Layout near Yelahanka New Town, where Chetan lives. Horrified at the scene of the accident, Chetan immediately rushed to console the injured pilot. 

"I was so scared. I remember running and running until I could see the pilot, who had landed. People were gathering to see what had happened. I held the pilot's hand and I asked him to try to stay calm. He too responded and said he was okay. I also asked him whether he was in pain. He responded by saying he was experiencing pain in his neck and he did not have any pain in any other part of his body. I assured him that help was on its way. Some of us also tried to give him some water. At that point, I only wanted to make sure that he was responding and being calm because that's how I could know he was okay. I asked him whether I could call anyone for him and he just said he would wait for the IAF to take him to the hospital and notify his family," Chetan said. 

Chetan waited with the pilot for 10 minutes until the firefighters and the ambulances arrived at the spot. By then, a large crowd had gathered at the spot. "There were too many people who were crowding him. I was there with him to make sure he is not moved before help arrived because I was scared something may happen to him. A couple of minutes after people gathered, a few of them told the people to back off as he was injured and needed some space to breathe. When help arrived, the officials took over. But I was there at the spot. Until then, I had not processed what I had seen and it was too much to take," Chetan added. 

A statement released by IAF said, "Today morning at around 1150 hrs, two Hawk aircraft of Surya Kiran aerobatic team of IAF crashed while practicing for the forthcoming Aero India Air Show. Three pilots were occupants. Two pilots ejected and have been evacuated to the Command Hospital. Third pilot sustained fatal injuries. Damage to life and property in the vicinity of crash site is being ascertained. A Court of Inquiry will investigate the cause of the accident."

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