“Man. Because he sacrifices his health
in order to make money. Then he
sacrifices money to recuperate his
health. And then he is so anxious about
the future that he does not enjoy the
present; the result being that he does
not live in the present or the future; he
lives as if he is never going to die, and
then dies having never really lived”

– Dalai Lama

 

ON THE BRINK OF LIFE

– Captain Ashutosh R Mohile
It was Saturday, 02 Jan 1993. In Coast Guard Air Station Chennai, one could see a
small team running around to prepare a Dornier 228 call sign CG 757 to depart to
Kolkata.
Just half an hour earlier, the team had almost left with another aircraft but had to
return because of a technical problem. The luggage of the crew, the spares and
tool kits were all transferred from the other aircraft to this one.
The team of two pilots and four technicians was tasked to operate from Kolkata for
one week due to some intelligence. They were also tasked to carry out surveillance
along the Orissa coast on their way to Kolkata. For doing this, they needed to refuel
at Vizag, a naval air base. The base was open that day only till noon as it was a
Saturday. The CG 757 crew was in a hurry to depart so as to reach Vizag before its
closure.
The captain was one of the experienced hands at the squadron. He knew the coast
like back of his hand. He was well versed with the modus-operandi of smugglers
and poachers. Those days, the terrorist threat at sea was not so serious. The
captain belonged to Hariyana and had three young children at home.