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Lieutenant Colonel JMPD Cunha hailed from Mangalore, but his family resided in Haryana. He was born in July 1966. He was born to Mr. Jerald D’Cunha and Mrs. Flavy D’Cunha. He completed his education at Hansraj College, New Delhi. Later he got selected to join the Army through Combined Defence Services Examination and went on to Indian Military Academy, Dehradun for training. After completing his training, he passed out of IMA in the year 1990 as a Lieutenant. He was commissioned into the 193 Field Regiment of the Regiment of Artillery. Later he got trained as a helicopter pilot and became part of the Army Aviation Corps. Then eventually, he went on to be a good pilot and became an instructor to teach young pilots. During 2007, Lieutenant Colonel JMPD Cunha was serving with his unit 661 Army Aviation Squadron of the Army Aviation Corps. The Squadron was operating Cheetah Helicopter. The Squadron was using Cheetah helicopter for their operational tasks. Lieutenant Colonel Cunha was tasked with one such mission on 24 May 2007 along with his co-pilot Maj Puneet Karol.

Service NumberIC-49691F
Place of BirthFaridabad, Haryana
RankLieutenant Colonel
Unit661 Army Aviation Squadron
RegimentArmy Aviation Corps
Date of Martyrdom24th May 2007

On 24th May 2007, Lieutenant Colonel Cunha along with Maj Puneet Karol took off in their Cheetah SA-315 for the assigned reconnaissance mission. Their mission was to fly off from Jalandhar to Karcham, located in the tribal district of Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh. The Karcham area had various Hydroelectric Projects going on with high-voltage electricity wires being a common site between mountains. Around 11 am while flying over Karcham, the helicopter lost control and lost contact with the Air Traffic Control. Lieutenant Colonel Cunha and Maj Puneet being experienced pilots, tried landing at the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam’s (SJVNL) helipad. However, while doing so, the rotors of the helicopter got entangled in high voltage wires spanning across two Rocky Mountains and caught fire. This separated the helicopter from the rotor and the chopper crashed into a hill and exploded. Lieutenant Colonel Cunha and Maj Puneet Karol could not survive the crash and unfortunately, lost their lives.

Lieutenant Colonel JMPD Cunha is survived by his father Shri Jerald D’Cunha, mother Smt. Flavy D’Cunha, wife, Smt. Nicole D’Cunha, son Kevin, sister Smt. Preethi and younger brother Shri Praneesh.

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