Kolkata (The Hawk): During a training exercise close to the India-China border, the assistant leader of the Special Frontier Force (SFF), a clandestine Special Forces unit under the operational command of the Army, had parachute failure and died in north Sikkim.
A source claimed that Lhagyal (40), an experienced paratrooper, had completed over 100 jumps, including free falls. He is a Sikkim resident who joined the SFF's 6 Vikas Battalion in July 2000.
The occurrence took place on Monday.
"This incident occurred during a workout. A Mi 17V5 helicopter dropped the SFF soldiers to the ground. Unfortunately, midair, Lhagyal's left clip of his parachute broke down, and he fell several thousand feet into a rocky valley. His motionless body was found and sent to a nearby hospital, where he was immediately pronounced dead. The North Bengal Medical College and Hospital received Lhagyal's remains next for an autopsy. It was given to the Army on Tuesday, according to an official.
The family of Lhagyal, who resides in the small town of Ravangla in south Sikkim, has been given possession of his lifeless remains. The official further stated that his final rites would be performed with all due military respect. The reason the parachute failed and Lhagyal was unable to open his backup chute is also under investigation.
Due to their involvement in the Indo-Pak War of 1971, the elite SFF, also known as the "Phantoms of Chittagong," remained mainly hidden until recently. This was as a result of their operations being conducted covertly under the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) of India, which answers directly to the PMO. News of this unit only became widely known following the recent conflict between India and China along eastern Ladakh. SFF personnel helped Indian Army soldiers scale Himalayan heights that provided a bird's-eye view of Chinese fortifications.
Subedar Nyima Tenzin of the SFF was murdered in one of these operations in August 2020 when he unintentionally stepped on a deactivated landmine to the south of Pangong Lake. The Army aggressively disseminated the news of his passing and his final rites in an effort to honour this unit, which was initially made up of Tibetan exiles who had fled to India following China's occupation of their nation.
(Inputs from Agencies)