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Air Commodore Prashant Eknath Patange

Service No 17706 Branch F(P)
Date of Birth: -- --- --
Date Commissioned 21 Dec 1984 Course 134 Course
Service End No Details
Remarks :
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Awards and Decorations

Number of Awards: 2
Yudh Seva Medal
Sqn LdrPrashant Eknath Patange17706 F(P)Award Date 26 Jan 1995Announced 26 Jan 1995
Details : Citation / Details Not Available
Unit :
Reference : Gazette of India , 11th March 1995 - No.100 - Pres/95 dated 26th January 1995
Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn LdrPrashant Eknath Patange17706 F(P)Award Date Announced 15 Aug 2000
Details :

Squadron Leader Prashant Eknath Patange YSM (17706) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 20 Apr 98 and is presently its Flight Commander.

On 22 Oct 99, the unit was tasked to evacuate 16 mountaineers (Foreign nationals) from Linghsi Makan in Bhutan, trapped at an altitude of nearly 15,000 feet due to heavy snowfall. They were suffering from high altitude sickness and were desperately short of food and supplies. The marginal weather and the forbidding snow bound mountainous terrain made the task of rescue extremely difficult and daunting. To get to the trapped group, a pass at 17500 feet had to be negotiated. This required skillful handling of the helicopter since the machine would be close to its operational limits.

After meticulously planning the entire operation Sqn Ldr Patange took-off for the location in a very short time. On locating the survivors he realised that the only option was to land on a small makeshift clearing, located on an exposed ridge, which itself was under more than four feet of snow. Such landing would demand exceptional flying skills and extra ordinary courage, since even a slight mishandling could lead to a catastrophic accident. Unmindful of personal danger he landed at the makeshift site not once but eight times to evacuate all the mountaineers to safety. His efforts saved 16 lives on that day. In executing the mission Sqn Ldr Patange ignored the grave danger to his life and lived up to the true traditions of the IAF.

Sqn Ldr Patange was involved in a similar rescue of two Dutch mountaineers suffering from severe high altitude sickness in Bhutan Himalayas on 08 Oct 99. His bold and courageous actions on both occasions have brought accolades and praise for the country and the Indian Air Force from the Royal Govt of Bhutan and heartfelt gratitude from evacuated foreign nationals.

For his act of courage and professionalism, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Prashant Eknath Patange.

Unit : 142 SSS Flt
Reference : Gazette of India dated 30th December 2000 - No.150-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000