A pall of gloom descended on Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan's home in Agra.
Wing Commander Chauhan, 42, was flying the helicopter which crashed in Coonoor, killing Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and others on Wednesday.
Soon after the news broke, relatives and neighbours rushed to console the bereaved family at Saran Nagar in Dayal Bagh in Agra.
Wing Commander Chauhan's family had moved to Agra in Uttar Pradesh from Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh in 2006 and his father Surendra Singh, 74, set up a bakery there.
Singh told PTI, "We received information about our son's untimely death through news channels. However, we did not receive an official confirmation either from the air force or the Agra administration on Wednesday."
Singh said his eldest daughter, who stays in Mumbai, followed the news and tried to contact Wing Commander Chauhan over the phone.
"However, she said his phone was switched off. She then called his wife Kamini Singh who had accepted the tragic news by then," a teary-eyed Singh said.
His son was cooperative and well-mannered, Singh said.
"He used to talk about our wellbeing. After 31 years, he celebrated Raksha Bandhan with his three sisters last time. His eldest sister, however, couldn't make it as she lives in Mumbai," Singh recalled.
The wing commandder was the youngest among the five siblings.
Singh said his son was to arrive home in January. "I last spoke to him some three-four days ago. His mother has some problems with her vision. So he had fixed an appointment at the military hospital."
According to his parents, the wing commander studied at the Sainik School in Madhya Pradesh's Rewa and got selected to the National Defence Academy.
He joined the Indian Air Force in Hyderabad in 2000 and was currently posted at the Indian Airforce station in Sulur. Tamil Nadu.
He married Kamini in 2007 and the couple has a daughter Aaradhya, 12, and son Aviraj, 7.