New Delhi: A pilot who rescued 80 passengers before his helicopter crashed in the inclement weather in Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi district and a Junior Commissioned Officer in the Indian Army, who fought with militants on the Line of Control are the winners of India's second highest peace-time gallantary award, the Kirti Chakra, announced on eve of the Republic Day today.
Darrayl Castellino from Mumbai was the captain of a Mi-17 V 5 helicopter in Uttarkashi when it went down.
A resident of Rupendehi district in Nepal, Naib Subedar Bhupal Singh Chhantel Magar of 5/5 Gorkha Rifles was awarded the Kirti Chakra for "displaying exceptional bravery, raw courage and junior leadership beyond the call of duty, in successful counter infiltration operations" along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.
Three other helicopter pilots, including Castellino's co-pilot, Flt Lt K Praveen have won Shaurya Chakras. Seven Army men have also won Shaurya Chakras too.
Among them is Lieutenant Colonel Bikramjit Singh. the second-in-command of 16 Cavalry has been awarded "Shaurya Chakra" (Posthumous) for his "speedy, tactically sound actions, courageous and bold leadership in the face of mortal danger and for acting swiftly without waiting for a weapon or protective gear, acting well beyond the call of duty, in the highest traditions of the Indian Army in Counter Terrorist Operations in Samba (J&K)."