In February, 1989 Wing Commander Chekuri Mohan Rao was called upon to launch a mission to rescue twelve casualties belonging to Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) from Bara-Lacha-La, who were involved in a serious avalanches in snow-bound areas. Wing Cdr Rao detailed himself to under take this difficult mission and lead a section of two Cheetah helicopters for the rescue operations. On the 26th February, 1989, displaying exceptional skill and consummate courage, he crossed Rohtang pass in extremely turbulent weather and landed successfully on the small and snow covered helped at Bara-Lacha-La at an altitude of 16000 feet and evacuated three SASE causalities to Manali. After refueling and unmindful of his personal safety he took off again and landed at Bara-Lacha-La in marginal weather. On the return flight Wg Cdr Rao had on board his co-pilot and three SASE (Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment) casualties. Shortly after getting airborne from Bara-Lacha-La, his helicopter developed sever vibrations and aircraft became almost uncontrollable. It was a grave aircraft emergency aggravated by poor visibility and marginal weather. Using his extraordinary flying skills, he managed to guide the virtually uncontrollable aircraft towards the only available small flattish piece of land on a hill slope. Displaying tremendous courage he managed to turn the helicopter during the last stages of force landing in such a manner that he personally took the major brunt of impact with the hill slope. While all the other occupants survived, Wg Cdr Rao sustained serious injuries and after surviving 12 hours into the sub-zero and treacherous climatic conditions at that high altitude, he succumbed to his injuries.
Wing Commander Chekuri Mohan Rao demonstrated courage and devotion to duty of a very high order and made the supreme sacrifice of his life in the finest tradition of the Air Force.