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Shaurya Chakra for Mumbai-based Navy pilot

Commander Kasutubh Gosavi, a Mumbai-based Navy pilot, has been awarded the Shaurya Chakra for saving 15 lives during various helicopter search and rescue missions.

Mumbai: Commander Kasutubh Gosavi, a Mumbai-based Navy pilot, has been awarded the Shaurya Chakra for saving 15 lives during various helicopter search and rescue missions.

"During the month of July last year, the officer was involved in four separate gallant and courageous acts wherein he was successful in saving lives of 15 personnel in a short span of 16 days," an official statement said.

"On July 3, 2014, 842 Squadron was tasked to undertake medical evacuation of a patient who was suffering acute abdominal pain onboard MV Star Eagle.

"The officer whilst navigating through adverse weather, low visibility, rains and strong winds, winched up the patient after ascertaining his medical condition from doctor and successfully evacuated the Philippine national to base. The patient was subsequently transferred to hospital for immediate surgery thereby saving his life," the statement said.

On July 14, a distress message was received from MV Priyanka that the ship was grounded off Revdanda close to Mumbai and was listing dangerously, thereby endangering the lives of crew onboard.

"The officer flew through the prevalent inclement rainy weather along with heavy swell and strong seas in the area with continuous rains which was reportedly the cause of this marine accident," it said.

"As Captain of aircraft, Commander Gosavi exhibited superior professional competence and leadership traits and employed his outstanding flying skills to affect rescue of all 11 crew members of MV Priyanka," it said.

Shaurya Chakra is a military decoration awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice while not engaged in direct action with the enemy.

"On July 18, an alert message for rescue of stranded personnel in Lotus building at Andheri, which was on fire, was received. On reaching the building, he realised that survivors had gathered in a corner one floor below the top floor of the building, about 450 feet, high and were unable to reach the top due to the towering flames.

"These menacing flames, strong winds and intense heat made even the approach of the helicopter to area difficult. Notwithstanding the difficult flying environment, he successfully winched up Manik Ogale, fire fighter from Andheri Fire Brigade," the statement said.

"On July 19, 842 Squadron was directed to execute medical evacuation of two Chinese patients from MT Ocean Crown. The operation was required to be executed at the fringes of Chetak operating ranges of about 20nm into the sea.

"There was no possibility of landing helicopter on the ship and the rescue had to be undertaken by winching up the patients, an arduous task as the patients had multiple fractures.

"Commander Gosavi employed all his experience and outstanding flying skills to bring the helicopter to a low hover height on deck of MT Ocean Crown. In a challenging and daring operation, he innovatively brought the patient inside the helicopter using the helicopter winch and the assistance from diver/ground team," it said.

"For his exceptional display of courage, leadership and professional competence during the rescue operations in which he save the lives of 15 personnel, the officer has been awarded Shaurya Chakra," it said.