Sgt Sudhakar Yadav hailed from Asharfabad village in Sant Kabeer Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh. Son of Shri Mahanand Yadav and was serving with the 157 Helicopter unit of the IAF when the tragedy struck at Kedarnath in the year 2013.
Mi-17 Helicopter Crash: 25 June 2013
On 25 June 2013, Sgt Sudhakar Yadav along with the captain and Crew of the Mi-17 helicopter was tasked to move essential supplies and National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) teams to Kedarnath, located at an elevation of over 11000 feet and rescue stranded pilgrims from Kedarnath during the return sorties. Inclement weather, frequently drifting clouds and poor light conditions prevalent in the unforgiving terrain of the narrow valley led to frequent delays in the operations and this made their task extremely demanding. Realizing the gravity of their task and the criticality of the evacuation of some of the stranded pilgrims, Sgt Sudhakar Yadav and his crew volunteered for the critical mission and got airborne in the first available window of opportunity to position his helicopter at Guptakashi.
During the return leg from Kedarnath to Guptakashi, the aircraft impacted on the steep slopes of the valley and crashed. The weather was so bad at that time that it took a long time for rescue teams to reach the crash site. On that day the helicopter carried out three sorties which were undertaken under deteriorating weather conditions. During these three sorties, they successfully saved 80 precious lives. For this act of conspicuous courage, professional competence and successful execution of a risky mission to save precious lives in hostile weather conditions. Besides Sgt Sudhakar Yadav, the other martyred brave hearts during the operation included Wg Cdr Darryl Castelino, Flt Lt K Praveen, Flt Lt Tapan Kapoor, and JWO Akhilesh Kumar Singh.
Sgt Sudhakar Yadav was posthumously awarded the “Vayu Sena Medal“. Sgt Sudhakar Yadav who laid down his life for his country during the Uttarakhand flood relief operations, was a dedicated professional who was undaunted by obstacles. The nation will ever remain grateful for his selfless service and supreme sacrifice.
Sgt Sudhakar Yadav is survived by his wife and two children.