New Delhi. 14 August 2018. Cyclone Ockhi lashed Kerala by nightfall on 30 Nov 17, stranding hundreds of fishermen at sea. V K Verma LA (FD) was the free diver of the first helicopter to reach rescue area in extreme weather conditions, torrential rain and poor visibility. Immediately upon arriving, the crew sighted a capsized boat being tossed around mercilessly in high waves with eight fishermen clinging onto a rope. With shifting winds, and sea spray, the aircraft at hover was being battered. Despite trying conditions, Verma braved the 4 metre high swell to rescue six survivors. While rescuing the seventh fisherman, three fingers of his left hand got entangled in the steel wire winch cable. Despite the bleeding hand, exposed flesh and suspected broken fingers, Verma insisted that he be sent down once again to rescue the remaining fisherman. Fighting excruciating pain and showing superhuman grit and courage, Verma rescued the last survivor also to safety.
V K Verma, LA (FD) in the face of life threatening danger during a Severe Cyclonic Storm, rescued the lives of eight fishermen. For the remarkable courage and determination he displayed under adverse conditions, V K Verma LA (FD) 219814-B is recommended for award of Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry).