On 27th November, 1955, Lt. B. Ahuja who was at Mechukha suddenly fell ill. The condition of the officer became very serious and, because of the primitive surface communications in that area his transfer to a hospital was considered possible only by air. Mechukha lies at an altitude of 6,400 ft. above sea level in the mountainous SIANG Division of the North East Frontier Agency. The only available stretch of open ground was a narrow, rough and undulating clearing of approximately 80 yards lying deep in a valley. It was obvious that a landing at this place would be fraught with danger but Flt. Lt. Brian Joseph Cannel had no hesitation in volunteering for this hazardous task.
On the morning of 27th November, 1955, Flt. Lt. Cannel left in an Auster aircraft for Mechukha and, after carrying out a difficult landing, had the patient placed in the aircraft. Flt. Lt. Cannel now faced the most difficult part of the rescue operation. He fully appreciated the fact that the take-off run was extremely short particularly as he was carrying heavy load for his light aircraft and operating from a high altitude. On his first take-off run he realised that he had failed to build up sufficient flying speed and immediately abandoned the attempt. He pushed the aircraft back to the take-off point with the aids of local tribesmen who also helped in clearing and levelling the ground further. On his second attempt he again realized that possibility of the aircraft not getting airborne in time, but acting with firm determination, although the under carriage of his aircraft struck a ditch beyond the small strip, he managed to get airborne by skilful piloting. He then flew back to base and landed safely with the patient who was immediately transferred to a hospital.
Such acts of courage and disregard of personal danger to save others are in the best traditions of the I. A. F.