On 13 Oct 92, the hauling cable of cable car carrying passengers to 'Timber Trail' holiday resort had snapped and ten passengers on board got stranded in the middle of the valley. The Air Force was given the task to rescue the passengers of cable car which was dangling at a height of 1500 ft. above the river bed.
A specially selected aircrew including Flt Lt P Upadhaya was tasked to undertake this hazardous mission. The only way, the tourists could be saved was by winching them up from the cable car. For this, the helicopter had to hover precariously close to the set of cables that ran above the cable car. The mission was fraught with danger as the slightest mistake on the part of any team member could end in disaster.
The helicopter was manoeuvred to a position above the cable car, with a roof approx 2' x 2' in dimension. Absence of any visual reference, turbulence and strong winds made precision hovering over the car very difficult and hazardous. Hovering is tiring and doing the same respectively ten times, 20 mts. each, involved exceptional courage and professional skills. It was due to sheer professionalism and exceptional courage that all ten passengers were rescued. This rescue operation was perhaps the first of its kind in the history.
For exceptional courage, professional of highest order, excellent team work and exemplary devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Flt Lt P Upadhaya.