Squadron Leader Bhupender Singh Sehrawat (24203) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Mi-8 Helicopter Unit since 30 Apr 03. He is a very keen and competent flier having 2604 hours of accident/ incident free flying.
On 15 Aug 06, Sqn Ldr Sehrawat, while airborne for flood relief operations, received a distress message from Nagpur ATC that a rescue boat carrying seven persons had capsized in 'Wainganga' river. Realising the gravity of the situation he immediately turned the helicopter towards the mishap area. Enroute, he carried out a meticulous in-flight planning and briefing. The weather was extremely bad with heavy downpour, strong gusty winds, low clouds and poor visibility, but he continued undeterred. After an extensive search the survivors were located, clinging onto tall trees in the swirling waters of 'Wainganga' river. Though situation was precarious, he kept his cool and decided to winch up the survivors from a high hover in between the tall trees.
Sqn Ldr Sehrawat, after coming to a high hover, descended his helicopter in between the trees with rotor tips barely clear of the branches and winched down one of his crew. Persisting on with his courageous effort he carried out a prolonged hover in an extremely restricted space, adverse weather and extreme regimes of performance. Through out he displayed selfless courage, exceptional skills, leadership and dedicated pursuance. By his timely and co-ordinated act of gallantry, he safely rescued all the seven survivors whose lives would otherwise have surely been lost.
For this act of exceptional courage, exemplary leadership and professional acumen in executing this complex mission leading to saving seven human lives, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Squadron Leader Bhupender Singh Sehrawat.