Following the deaths of two instructors and serious injuries caused to two other Army personnel on Wednesday evening, a condolence meeting was held at the Officers Training Academy (OTA) in St. Thomas Mount on Thursday evening.

The bodies of Hawildar Tarseem Singh (31), attached to Army Physical Training Corps, and rifleman Manwar Singh (30), of the 17 Garhwal Rifles regiment, were brought in an Army truck to the mortuary of Tambaram Taluk Government Hospital in Chromepet on Thursday morning. After the post-mortem was performed, their bodies were handed over to Army staff at the Academy. The bodies will be flown on Friday morning to New Delhi, from where they will be taken to their respective hometowns in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Tarseem Singh, son of Dharam Singh, hailed from Kut Village in Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh. He had been a physical training instructor at the Academy for about 3 years. He was living with his wife, who is eight months pregnant, and their two-and-a-half year old son at the military quarters in Nandanam.

Manwar Singh son of Ranjith Singh hailed from Garshan village in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand. He was a drill instructor at the Academy for about 2 years. His parents, wife and their two children were living in his native village, soldiers at the Academy said.

A non-commissioned officer, requesting anonymity, said the trainee lady and gentlemen cadets at the Academy, through their stay at the Academy for one year during the course of their training, developed a special bond with their drill instructors, who played a crucial role in moulding the turnout, physical fitness and even their career and lives of the budding officers.

The trainee cadets and the instructors were like a family and the way the trainees performed their drill, their physical fitness level, ability to discharge their all-round duties and demonstrate their skills depended largely on the instructors, he said.

The drill instructors, along with the chief guest or the reviewing officer, have the honour of decorating medal winners during the passing out parade held twice each year. Soon after the ‘pipping’ ceremony at the end of the parade when the officers’ ranks on their shirt’s shoulder straps are revealed, the young officers’ first salute is to their drill instructors, an officer said.

The two injured personnel, Sushil Kumar Singh and Rajendra Kumar Singh, will be flown to the Military Hospital in Bengaluru for advanced treatment.

The group of instructors, were pushing a mobile ladder to prepare the grounds for an inter-company obstacle course competition (which was cancelled on Thursday), when the accident took place.

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