An aircraft was lost in October, 1967 in Kulkila Glacier area of Lahul-Spiti at the height of 15,000 and 18,000 feet. In October, 1978, Squadron Leader Puran Chandra Singh Rautela, VSM, volunteered to undertake the expedition to locate the wreckage and the body of the pilot. Despite adverse weather conditions, he undertook the journey as snow would have obliterated the traces of wreckage. On the way he saved the life of a Japanese tourist suffering from acute pulmonary edema at a height of 13,000 feet by offering him the limited oxygen available to the team. Though deserted by the majority of porters, he continued to lead the expedition under dangerous weather conditions with temperature at -30Ã‚Â°C and wind speed of 50 knots. During the course of operation, on one occasion, he was buried to the neck-deep in loose snow. Inspite of this, he inspired confidence in the members of his team through personal example and carried on the expedition and ultimately discovered the wreckage of the aircraft lost nearly 11 years ago and carried the wreckage back to the base.
In this action, Squadron Leader Puran Chandra Singh Rautela displayed exemplary courage, determination and devotion to duty of a high order.