Kabisuryanagar: “I feel proud that my son died serving the nation,” Odia IAF pilot Sunit Mohanty’s father said while suppressing the pain of loss. Flight Lieutenant Sunit was amongst the 13 who died aboard the ill-fated An-32 transport aircraft that crashed in Arunachal Pradesh June 3.
“I loved Air Force. So did my son. Everyone should be proud of our soldiers. My son died while serving the nation on duty. He was a true soldier dedicated for the service of the nation,” said retired IAF Group Captain Surendranath Mohanty, Sunit’s father.
Born Nov 7, 1990 at Military hospital in Chennai, Sunit’s love for the Air Force began from his childhood. He saw his father serving the nation from a young age and got acquainted with the lifestyle. As per his father’s transfer, Sunit jumped places and was schooled in various cities like Agra, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Kota and Delhi. He completed his B Tech degree from NIT Jamshedpur and was commissioned as a flying pilot in 2014.
“He was a smart and well mannered boy who was loved and liked by all,” added his father. The Mohanty family hailed from Baliapalli village under Kabisuryanagar block of Ganjam district.
Surendranath, who himself had the experience of flying the AN-32 for 5-6 years said, “It is an old design that has several structural defects. Many incidents have happened and several families have been destroyed due to the aircraft. I call out for the replacement of the aircraft with modern ones.”
It may be mentioned here that the Indian Air Force (IAF) Thursday confirmed the demise of Mohanty. In a statement, IAF said that ‘none of the 13 people onboard the missing aircraft survived’.
Sunit was one among the eight crew members of the plane. The Soviet-origin AN-32 aircraft was going from Jorhat in Assam to Menchuka when it lost connection with the ground staff. The news of Mohanty’s death has shattered his family members and relatives.