A team of seven European Trekkers between the ages of 30 to 70 years had been stranded at an altitude of 14500 feet in Bhutan. One of them had already died and the rest were in a critical condition. They were reported to be suffering from High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPO) and unless immediately evacuated would have met the same fate.
On the 7th October, 1988 Squadron Leader
Sanjiv Misra was detailed for the casualty evacuation mission. Although he was aware that the place of evacuation was located well above the normal operating limits of the Chetak helicopter and that too in an uncharted territory, Sqn Ldr Misra decided to proceed with the mercy mission since any delay would have resulted in more fatalities. He took off with a senior Bhutanese official on board and showing exceptional skill quickly searched the area and located four survivors. In spite of the extremely difficult hilly terrain, he managed to put down the helicopter on a narrow ledge and evacuated two of the more serious casualties. He now learnt that the dead foreigner and the other two survivors were stranded at a place 2/3 miles away and their condition was even worse. Sqn Ldr Misra flew the two casualties to Thimpu, kept the rotor going and then after quick refueling at Paro proceeded to the second location. Since no clear place was available, after considerable search and bringing all his experience into play he managed to hold the helicopter on a small patch in a hilly stream which was strewn with huge boulders. He left the senior official at this site to guard the body and evacuated the two casualties to Thimpu. Once again, after quick refuelling, he went to the 1st location and flew out the remaining two casualties. By this time the weather had deteriorated and he had already been flying for over 5 hours. But realising that the civilian official guarding the dead body was in peril and would not survive the night, he went back once again and rescued the civilian along with the dead body.
Throughout this mission, Squadron Leader Sanjiv Misra showed high professional skill and exceptional courage.