Before his death in the helicopter crash that killed 19 other people from the IndoTibetan Border Police, Indian Air Force (IAF) and National Disaster Response Force in the rough terrain of Uttarakhand, Wing Commander Darryl Castelino had rescued 300 stranded flood victims in IAF sorties, said Castelino’s commanding officer Apoorv Verma.
Castelino, 38, was deputed at the Barrackpore Air Base and he was one of the founding officers of the newly inducted 157Tarkshya helicopter unit (HU), that had acquired new Mi-17 V5 Russian made helicopters.
“Darryl was an extremely competent and good professional with extensive experience of flying over mountains and difficult terrains.
He was one of the first persons to be sent for the rescue operations at Uttarakhand,” said Verma. “Darryl was responsible for planning most rescue operations and their execution, too. On the day of the ill-fated flight, he woke up before 6am and said – don’t worry, sir, we will be careful,” Verma said.
Castelino was also a role mode for the juniors in the HU. “Darry would organise operations with the same ease as he planned choreographed dances at the unit parties. We had a ‘Saptarshi’ [7 star] crest on our unit uniform and one of them was for Darryl It was an honour and a privilege to have him,” Verma said.