New Delhi: A decade after tsunami struck the eastern coast of the country killing thousands, an Indian Air Force officer today published a book chronicling the despair and heroism that the force's personnel faced while tackling the wrath of the sea.
Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha released the book - "A Few Good Men and the Angry Sea" ? penned by Air Commodore Nitin Sathe.
The book is a recollection of memoirs of the author who was a Wing Commander posted at Air Force Station, Car Nicobar during the tsunami.
Among those present was Air Commodore B S Krishna Kumar, who had been posted as the Commanding Officer of a helicopter unit at Car Nicobar just about seven weeks before the horrific event.
When the earthquake struck, little did the people of Car Nicobar realise that they would soon be facing the wrath of the sea. People ran out of their houses in their night suits and these were the only belonging that many were finally left with, as the rest were consumed by the sea.
Dressed only in his pyjamas and vest, Kumar took off in his helicopter and rescued about 300 people on December 26, 2004.
Kumar quoted from the diary of a survivor: "The wail of the grieved ones was strong enough to rip apart the strongest of hearts while the joy of people reuniting with their families was also beyond imagination... The ones who wept did not do so for (loss of) their homes or belongings and the ones who rejoiced did so inspite of it."
Following the tsunami, IAF posted 11 officers and a bunch of dedicated men, including Sathe who had volunteered to go there, to take charge of bringing up the operational fitness of the Air Force base within 100 days.
In the book, the author has provided detailed accounts of heroism and leadership on the part of men of his own team as well as ones that arrived later on and how all teams worked together towards the deadline of 100 days to make Car Nicobar functional.
Speaking at the event, the Air Chief lauded the efforts of the transport and helicopter fleet employed in the rescue and relief operations at Car Nicobar. He said the Air Force has put contingency plans in place to deal with any such situation in future.