Indian President confers gallantry medal on helicopter pilot

Indian President confers gallantry medal on helicopter pilot

27-Jan-2015 Source: Ministry of Defence

Wing Commander Amit Jain, Flying (Pilot) is posted as Flight Commander of a Cheetal/ Cheetah Helicopter Unit operating in the Siachen Glacier. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and an Examiner, and has more than 3500 hours of accident/incident free flying.

On 18 Jul 2014, an urgent request from Leh district administration for a casuality evacuation was received. Wing Commander A Jain was authorized to lead a two helicopter formation for search and rescue of a critically injured mountaineer with broken ribs, shoulder, pelvic bone and spinal injuries. The mountaineer had a vertical fall of 40 feet from the Stok Kangri peak.

The location of the mountaineer was ambiguous and the prevailing weather in the entire sector was marginal, which made the mission even more challenging. Despite the limited time and sketchy information available, Wing Commander Jain along with his crew members displayed extreme swiftness and professionalism in planning the mission. Having reached the area, he quickly analysed the situation and marshalled the resources at hand for an efficient search. He located the casualty at an altitude of 21050 feet on a steep slope. The inhospitable terrain coupled with operations at the extremities of the helicopter flight envelope left no margin for error. He kept flying close to the casualty and encouraged the struggling mountaineers, who were in waist deep snow, to tow the casualty towards the landing spot. Braving the inclement weather and turbulent winds, he manoeuvred and attempted to land his helicopter close to the casualty on the treacherous terrain marred with loose snow and crevasses. He was able to execute a landing 50 feet from the casualty on an extremely restricted ledge protruding out of a steep slope at an altitude of 21000 feet. Assessing the small window of opportunity available in an avalanche prone area, he instructed his No 2 to carry out a landing at a lower elevation to conserve fuel. He used his experience and well calculated judgement to fight against all odds to successfully save a precious life. Throughout this act of gallantry, Wing Commander Jain led the high risk mission effectively in the face of inhospitable terrain, inclement weather and extreme aircraft limits showcasing exceptional courage, extraordinary flying skills, exemplary leadership and professionalism.

For this act of exceptional courage, exemplary leadership, resolute determination and highest level of professionalism, Wing Commander Amit Jain has been awarded with Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).

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