India: Wing Commander Deepika Misra Saved 47 Lives
On August 2, 2021, Wing Commander Deepika Misra was assigned to conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in response to flash floods in northern Madhya Pradesh.
Following the initial aerial surveillance, she sprang into action, picking up stranded people from roads, fields, and rising grounds and transporting them to safe locations away from flood waters. In one case, she had to rescue four villagers from a rooftop.
She was successful in saving lives despite the significant risk of spatial disorientation due to the limited visual cues and flowing water. 47 individuals, including women and children, were saved by Wing Commander Deepika Misra during the laborious eight-day rescue operation that also included low hover pick-ups and winching.
- Deepika Misra is the first female recipient of the Vayu Sena Medal.
- She received the gallantry award for her contribution to a Madhya Pradesh disaster relief mission during a sortie.
The IAF, NDRF, SDRF, and other civil authorities used Deepika’s initial aerial reconnaissance and the information gathered from it to plan the entire rescue operation.
In recognition of her valiant efforts in dealing with the flood in northern Madhya Pradesh and outstanding rescue efforts, Deepika Mishra received the prestigious Air Force Medal (Vayu Sena Medal). Thereby, becoming the first female officer to bag the prestigious award.
“Despite the high risk of spatial disorientation due to limited visual cues and flowing water, she was successful in saving their lives. The rescue operation including low hover pick-ups and winching lasted for an exhaustive eight days and she saved the lives of 47 people including ladies and children. Her efforts of bravery and courage not only saved precious lives in a natural calamity but also instilled a sense of safety amongst the common populace in the flood-affected area. For this act of exceptional courage, Wing Commander Deepika Misra is awarded Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry),” according to the statement released by Ministry of Defence.
“Despite the odds of deteriorating weather, strong winds and the nearing sunset time, Wing Commander Deepika negotiated the challenging weather and was the first and only respondent to reach the affected area the same evening,” the statement added.