Ayyancheri is among the few hamlets that constitute Urapakkam Village Panchayat. It is less than a km away from GST Road and about 40 km from Chennai.

On Tuesday morning, when women were busy with household chores, they were interrupted by a deafening noise. “I heard three loud sounds within a short span of time. I have never heard anything like that all my life. I rushed to the terrace and noticed a man coming down from the sky in a parachute,” said Amudha.

The Kiran (Mk.2) aircraft was on a routine sortie with its pilots Wing Commander C.G.Deepak and Squadron Leader K.P.Singh when a technical snag forced the two to eject to safety. Singh descended on the parachute on Godavari Nagar Main Road and came down on the overhead power supply cables. “It is miraculous he survived. Power supply was on at that time,” Ms.Amudha said, adding that within moments, the “young officer” was back on his feet.

When the cables came down, the power supply automatically stopped. Deepak came crashing through a mango tree in the compound of the house of Raviprakash in Narmada Nagar. “He landed on the compound wall on his waist and fell outside on a vacant plot outside my house,” Mr. Raviprakash told reporters and officials of Indian Air Force who mapped the spots.

“I was the first one to rush to him. He asked for water and urged us not to move him from the spot. He also asked for a cigarette,” said Chinnaponnu Subbarayan, a construction worker. “I scampered and came with a mug of water. He was so thankful,” she said. “We did our bit of help. If we get job at least as a sweeper, some of us women daily wage earners will be ever grateful,” she told IAF officials, who noted down her details.

Like in all accidents, the local residents were the first to attend to the injured and provide first aid. After officials reached the spot, a perimeter was formed and residents were not allowed near the spot.

On 18 June, 2003, a Deepak HPT-32 aircraft crashed in a dried-up lake off Rajiv Gandhi Salai, shortly after take off from Tambaram owing to engine failure. The pilots were pulled to safety by residents.

Deepak HPT-32 aircrafts were the basic trainer aircraft of IAF for several years before they were grounded. Subsequently, Kirans, part of the popular Suryakiran display team of IAF, were made the basic aircraft.