On 26 Aug 11, Wg Cdr S Srinivasan was authorised to lead a two helicopter formation to rescue a critically ill American member of an Indo-American team of mountaineers who were climbing the Saser Kangri-II peak. The expedition team requested for an air rescue through their organising agency and the embassy of India.
Despite very limited time and information available to him, Wg Cdr S Srinivasan along with his crew members displayed extreme swiftness and professionalism in planning the mission, which included the route and fuel planning, power requirement and a plan to execute the search and rescue. After carrying out the detailed analysis and assessment of situation, he ensured that the formation was airborne in a matter of minutes.
He reached the area, started a search pattern, and quickly spotted the casualty. He found that the landing site was at a density altitude of 23000 ft, which is at the absolute limit of the helicopter’s operating envelope. Also, the site was located on a treacherous glacier amidst wide crevasses. The inhospitable terrain coupled with negligible reserve of power and turbulence in the area, left him with no margins at all, in case of an eventuality. However, he remained undeterred, used his experience, and well calculated judgement to execute an extremely difficult approach to land on loose snow in a very restricted space and the casualty was taken on board without wasting any time. As the entire search and rescue mission was carried out in the most professional way, the critically ill casualty was retrieved within two hours at Leh and a precious human life was saved.
For the act of exceptional courage, professional competence and successful execution of the rescue mission in the face of inhospitable terrain and extremely demanding conditions, Wing Commander Subramaniam Srinivasan has been awarded Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).