Service No : 33522 F(P)

Place of birth : Nepal

Last Rank : Flight Lieutenant

Unit : 43 Sqn AF

Arm/Regt : Indian Air Force

Martyrdom : June 3, 2019

Flt Lt Rajesh Thapa

Flight Lieutenant Rajesh Thapa was born in Nepal but was raised in the Faridabad district of Haryana. Son of Shri Hari Thapa and Smt Shiva Thapa, he had a brother and a sister as his siblings. He was raised by his grandmother Smt Rama Maya Thapa in Faridabad where he studied at St John's School. After his schooling, he got selected to join the prestigious NDA Khadakwasla. He joined the 'Foxtrot' Squadron of the 123rd course at NDA. Therafter he went to the Air Force Academy at Dindigul and was commissioned on 14 Dec 2013 into the flying branch of the IAF.  He got trained as a transport pilot and passed out as part of the 192nd Pilots' Course. Thereafter he completed subsequent phases of his flying training and soon gathered experience in various air operations.


AN-32 Crash (Indo-China Border): 3rd Jun 2019


During Jun 2019, Flt Lt Rajesh Thapa was serving with 43 Sqn AF based in Air Force station Jorhat in Assam. The Sqn was operating AN-32 twin-engine turboprop transport aircraft and was undertaking various air operations including critical logistic support operations for the army troops deployed in far-flung and inaccessible areas of the Northeast. On 3rd Jun 2019, Flt Lt Rajesh Thapa along with his 7 other crew members was tasked with an air support operation. The crew members of the aircraft included Wg Cdr G M Charles, Sq Ldr H Vinod, Flt Lt Mohit Garg, Flt Lt Sunit Mohanty, Flt Lt Ashish Tanwar, Warrant Officer KK Mishra and Sergeant Anoop Kumar S. As per the assigned task, the aircraft was to take off from Jorhat IAF base and land at Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh.


Flying in the area with a stretch of deep valleys and high mountains demanded a very high level of flying skills and Wg Cdr GM Charles, the captain had the requisite experience and professional expertise to undertake various air operations in the area. As planned the aircraft with 8 crew members and 5 passengers including Corporal Sherin, LAC SK Singh, LAC Pankaj, and noncombatants Rajesh Kumar and Putali, took off from Jorhat at 12:27 pm. However, It lost contact with ground control at 1 pm about 33 minutes after takeoff. The aircraft eventually crashed and the wreckage of the aircraft was found near Pari hills close to Gatte village, 16 km north of Lipo in Arunachal Pradesh, at an elevation of 12,000 feet. The wreckage was recovered 8 days after the crash following a massive rescue operation launched by the security forces. Besides the employment of the Indian Army, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, and the state police forces, IAF deployed a fleet of Sukhoi-30, C-130J, AN-32 aircraft, MI-17 and ALH helicopters for the rescue operation. Unfortunately, Flt Lt Rajesh Thapa and all other crew members could not survive the crash and were martyred. Flt Lt Rajesh Thapa was a competent pilot and a committed air warrior who laid down his life in the line of his duty at the very young age of 28 years.


Flt Lt Rajesh Thapa is survived by his father Shri Hari Thapa and mother Smt Shiva Thapa.

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