While five people may have died on Friday due to the Indian aircraft C-130J super hercules crashing, the total number of Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel the nation has lost since 1994 stands at 424 till 2013. The figure was revealed after an RTI application was filed by RTI activist, Chetan Kothari.
The reason for them losing their lives ranges from accidents, fall, heart attacks, natural, firing and unnatural deaths that include suicide. With respect to suicides, around 29 suicides took place since 1994. The reasons for the same ranged from financial, domestic, marital, stress, depression, illicit relations, failed love affair and unknown reasons.
The most number of deaths, however, were due to unnatural causes as per the details provided by the air force. These were available from different command control regions. Figures from the Delhi region, that has the central command put the figure of unnatural death at 216.
This was followed eastern air command central based in Shillong that reported unnatural deaths at 49. This was followed by command centre based in Allahabad that reported 42 deaths, south western command region in Gandhinagar with 35 deaths, training command centre in Bangalore with deaths reported at 25, Nagpur region at 16 and southern headquarters in Trivandrum region with 12 deaths reported.
Surprisingly, most unnatural deaths were due road traffic accidents, followed by health issues like heart attack, brain stroke among others. However, the information provided did not make it clear whether these happened on duty or otherwise. "I think the high number of deaths in road accidents should be looked at for the reasons. Suicides and health related deaths need to be given medical attention and counselling at regular intervals," said Chetan Kothari.
dna could not reach out to the IAF for comment.