Cdr Hari Govind awarded Nau Sena Medal (Gallantry)

Cdr Hari Govind

Cdr Hari Govind (04387-W) is Commanding INAS 322 since 28 Mar 18. On the night of 13 Jun 18, the officer displayed extraordinary courage in conditions of clear and present danger whilst affecting MEDEVAC off Merchant Vessel Nu-Shi Nalini in torrential rains in near absolute darkness. At about 1830 hrs, INAS 322 was tasked to evacuate a victim of an Engine room explosion onboard a merchant vessel that was anchored 15 miles West of Kochi. Being the only night qualified pilot in the squadron and his own experience being limited, the officer took
it upon himself to undertake the mission. To obviate further delay in rescue, he opted to get airborne in torrential rains. On approaching the stricken ship, the officer assessed that the engine room explosion had left the ship without power and propulsion enveloping the ship in complete darkness making the impending winching operation an extremely hazardous one.
The identification of a suitable winching point on the deck became critical for the success of the mission in the marginal conditions prevalent. With the NVG’s rendered unusable in view of the torrential rain, the deck was painstakingly scanned using aircraft landing light. By about 2030 hrs, the surface units deployed by SNC had affected R/V and expressed inability to lower boat due to heavy sea state, very heavy rains and extremely poor visibility. With air rescue now being the only option available, the officer displayed exceptional courage and selflessness in going ahead with the rescue operation despite adverse conditions. The ships upper deck was packed with pipelines and assessed unsuitable for winching operations. The only other possibility for winching was from the highly restricted bridge wings. On his instructions the patient was shifted to the bridge wings and utilizing his superior piloting skills and professional knowledge he established the aircraft in high hover on the Port side of the bridge wing. With the ship rolling about 15 to 20 degrees and visibility limited to only the spot illuminated by the
aircraft landing light, manual hover was established at 175 feet. The aircraft hovering at this height, whilst keeping sufficiently clear of obstructions, resulted in uncontrollable swing of the Rescue Basket rendering winching impossible. The officer took the extremely difficult decision of reducing the aircraft height to only 125 feet over the deck displaying courage and skill to  maintain the aircraft at hover for 35 mins at a very marginal 15 feet clearance from the mast head light. Due to the violent swing of the rescue basket repeated attempts had to be made to
land the basket on the bridge wing. On one such attempt the basket entangled with the guard rail. The officer displayed nerves of steel and opted against cutting the cable whilst maintain hover thereby providing the winch operator time to force the basket loose. In torrential rains and near zero visibility the officer took extreme risk to undertake medical evacuation of a grievously injured crew from a merchant ship. Such an act has never been performed by the Advanced Light Helicopter and the officer’s courage has served towards expanding the
operational footprint of the aircraft. During this MEDVAC officer displayed an act of exceptional courage during torrential rains in absolutely darkness, Cdr Hari Govind R, 04387- W has been awarded Nau Sena Medal (Gallantry).

Indian Bureaucracy Dot Com wishes Cdr Hari Govind R the very best.

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