T'puram: Thiruvananthapuram native Sumitha Vijayan, who was killed in the helicopter mishap at Katra on Monday, was the first Malayali woman pilot to fly an Indian Air Force chopper. Sumitha was in the first batch of woman pilots selected for flying helicopters. A native of Avanavanchery near Attingal, Sumitha was known for her bravery wand was liked by one and all. She retired from the IAF in 2006 and joined Himalayan Heli Services and flew planes to Amarnath and Kedarnath. Sumitha was not scheduled to fly the ill fated chopper; but since the assigned pilot failed to turn up, Sumitha as the chief pilot took the responsibility and flew the helicopter.
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