Honouring a national hero: Remembering Lieutenant T Sivasutan of RMN

The painful loss is difficult to accept.

25 Apr 2024 04:04pm
Officers and members of the RMN attended to pay their final respects to the late Lt T. Sivasutan. Photo by Bernama.
Officers and members of the RMN attended to pay their final respects to the late Lt T. Sivasutan. Photo by Bernama.

SHAH ALAM – The absence of a beloved one casts a long shadow upon the world, leaving it muted, like a melody missing its most cherished note.

Since their departure, a gaping hole has opened in the real world.

Memories flicker like fireflies, a thousand and one bittersweet reminders carried like burdens. Each day stretches on, echoing with the laughter and love that is no longer here.

The painful loss is difficult to accept, as experienced by the family of one of the victims of the crash involving two Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) helicopters at the RMN Lumut Base, Lieutenant T Sivasutan.

Sivasutan, 31, served as a pilot in Squadron 502 and was among the three crew members of the Fennec aircraft involved in the accident with another RMN asset, the Maritime Operations aircraft (HOM-AW139) carrying seven members.

He was was the second of three siblings and had been married for about three months.

His family described him as caring and kind-hearted towards the family, and according to the father, M Thanjappan, 61, his son was always attentive and compassionate towards the family, consistently adhering to both his and his wife's guidance when making decisions for the betterment of their children.

"Sivasutan took great care of the family, for example, if his mother was sick, he quickly bought medicine and did not hesitate to buy things for the family," he had said.

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More heart-wrenching, Thanjappan expressed his willingness to sacrifice his own life if it meant his son could continue living.

"Let me be the one to enter the coffin because I am old; there is nothing else I want in this world, especially since I have retired as a teacher," he said..

The retired teacher said that although he lost Sivasutan, who was a pilot in Squadron 502, he felt proud because his son was considered a national hero.

"Perhaps many here in Manjung do not know him, but today all of Malaysia knows him.

"He was the only Indian pilot in the RMN Lumut and his departure is not only a loss to the family but also to the RMN community," he added.

Sivasutan was also reported to have married his wife, a dentist, on Jan 25, and the couple previously lived apart due to the wife's work obligation in Penang.

The wife had just been transferred to Teluk Intan and reported for duty on Monday, just one day before they received the heartbreaking news.

The family still struggled to come to terms with the tragic event, especially the deceased's parents.

Sivasutan, who was also a former student of the National Defence University of Malaysia (UPNM), had served with the RMN for almost eight years, and previously served in Sandakan, Sabah.

Not only that the family miss the hero, but on a social media platform Facebook, a man who was a close friend of Sivasutan, also an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer at the Royal Malaysian Navy, uploaded a picture of himself with the late Sivasutan.

Chan Jun Shen reminisced about his interactions with Sivasutan.

He described the deceased as honest and straightforward and had often visited his office to learn about aircraft systems.

In his post, recalling a specific moment, he recounted a detachment trip to Borneo where Sivasutan forgot to bring his casual wear upon arrival in Tawau. They then visited a bundle shop together.

Upon returning from Tawau, Sivasutan fell ill with a fever and cough, eventually testing positive for Covid-19.

Chan mentioned that during the detachment, they slept on the floor with Sivasutan at one end, Fariq in the middle, and himself by the door. He shared that all three of them contracted Covid-19 together, forming another significant memory.

“When I saw Siva's body next to the pool, tears flowed down uncontrollably. I slowly opened up the white sheet, had a glimpse of his face for one last time.

“Siva passed on as a proud Naval Aviator. Just as his main objective was to join the Airwing, to make his family proud. Siva, not only your family is proud, but the whole Sitiawan is proud of you, Siva!

“Plenty of great memories with Siva, thank you for your service. Rest in eternal peace, Naval Aviator!” read the post.

Chan also said that Sivasutan’s wife had a surprise for him, to tell him that she was pregnant but it was not known whether the victim managed to find out that he was going to be a father before the tragedy.

In the incident at 9.30 am on Tuesday, two helicopters participating in the parade of the 90th RMN Day during the Fleet Open Day at the RMN Lumut Base were reported to have collided and crashed.

The accident claimed 10 victims, comprising seven crew members and three passengers of two HOM-AW139 helicopters and the RMN Fennec helicopter that took off from the Sitiawan Astaka Field, Perak.

The HOM-AW139 aircraft crashed onto the stairs of the RMN Lumut Stadium, while the Fennec aircraft crashed into the RMN Lumut Sports Complex swimming pool.