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Jun 28, 2013 at 12:59pm IST

Uttarakhand chopper crash: Martyrs' families in mourning, but proud

New Delhi: The families of the 20 brave men who died in the rescue chopper crash in Uttarakhand are waiting for their bodies to be sent home. As they mourn for their loved ones, what is common is the sense of pride they have as these heroes laid their lives to save others.

A grief-struck father, his distraught daughter-in-law, her inconsolable daughter and son have lost Nityanand Gupta, one of the 20 brave men who died in the chopper crash in the line of duty. "I want serve with the NDRF just like my father did," said his son Manan Gupta.

Nityanand and his team of NDRF personnel were among the first to reach flood-hit Kedarnath. His team saved hundreds of lives. He was due to return later this week.

Nityanand Gupta's family was preparing to give him a hero's welcome, but now all they want is to get his body so that at least a martyr's farewell is given. "If they delay any further my son's body won't be in a condition to be cremated," said his father Manna Lal Gupta.

Bhim Singh from Kathua was made an ITBP inspector just four months back. The youngest among four brothers, Singh motivated many injured pilgrims at Kedarnath not to lose hope." We are proud of my brother who laid his life to save others," said his brother Puran Singh.

Flight lieutenant Tapan Kapoor, an engineer, joined the Indian Air Force because he wanted to serve the nation. His distraught parents still can't believe that their 27-year-old son is never coming back.

So it is with the family of Junior warrant officer Akhilesh Kumar Singh. Just ten days back he was with his family, now his home brims with people offering their condolences. "My son told me that in 17 years he felt satisfied for the first time after saving all those people," said his father Vikram Singh.