The body of Murugan (39), Junior Warrant Officer of Indian Air Force, who was killed when two MI-17 choppers collided at Jamnagar on Thursday, was cremated with full military honours at Marikulam cremation ground here on Saturday.

As the guns boomed, the box containing the body with the officer’s photograph on it was consigned to flames at 10 a.m. Thirty-three gun shots were fired as a mark of respect to the departed officer.

As the coffin wrapped with National Tricolor arrived in an Air Force van at the cremation ground, Group Captain K.V.S.N.Murthy, Commanding Officer, Thanjavur Air Force Station, placed a wreath on the body and paid his homage. Other officials of the Air Force Station also placed the wreaths.

Earlier, the body arrived in a special aircraft at Tiruchi from where it was brought in an Air Force van to his residence at Palaniappa Nagar here. Group Captain K.V.S.N.Murthy and Air Force personnel garlanded the body at the house. Later it was taken in an Air Force van to the cremation ground at 9 a.m. The box containing the body was carried by Air Force personnel.

Murugan attached to Air base at Dibrugarh in Assam is survived by wife Sivakamasundari and two sons Akash and Vijayaprakash. He is a native of Thanjavur. His mother and sister live in Thanjavur. He has two brothers and two sisters. Murugan, who joined as an airman when he was 17, put in 22 years of service in the IAF. He studied at Kalyanasundaram Higher Secondary School at Thanjavur. He completed his M.A. in political science through correspondence.

Staff Reporter writes from Coimbatore:

Squadron Leader V. Manoj, who died on August 30 when two MI-17 helicopters went down during an exercise in Jamnagar, was given a final salute and laid to rest with full military honours here on Saturday.

A pilot in the ‘Sarang’ aerobatic helicopter display team of the IAF, Sqn. Ldr. Manoj was posted at Air Force Station, Sulur. He was on assignment with the Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) at Jamnagar as a helicopter combat instructor.

IAF personnel, led by Air Commodore N. Santosh, Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station, Sulur, paid floral tributes after the tricolour draped casket of the 32-year old officer was brought to the crematorium of Shanthi Social Service. The last rites were performed in the presence of family members. Sqn. Ldr. Manoj was laid to rest with personnel according a gun salute, and the buglers sounding the Final Post.

According to his colleagues, he was an exceptional pilot and a bright officer. Air Commodore Santhosh said the death of Sqn. Ldr. Manoj was not only a loss to the ‘Sarang’ team, but the entire IAF. Hailing from Thiruvananthapuram, the officer is survived by his wife, who is also a Sqn. Ldr. at Air Force Station, Sulur, and a a daughter.

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