Mumbai police laud Indian Navy sailor for rescuing drowning woman at Gateway of India

Updated: Jul 21, 2019, 16:40 IST | Diwakar Sharma

The sailor Pankaj Kala saved the drowning woman, identified as Pratiksha Dinesh Mohite (30), despite all odds, thereby risking his own life during the high-tide in the sea at night

Mumbai police laud Indian Navy sailor for rescuing drowning woman at Gateway of India
Pankaj Kala/ Pic Suresh KK

Indian Navy sailor Pankaj Kala received a letter of appreciation on July 18, 2019 from Mumbai police for rescuing a woman who was drowning at the Arabian sea near Gateway of India a week ago. The sailor Pankaj Kala saved the drowning woman, identified as Pratiksha Dinesh Mohite (30), despite all odds and risking his own life during the high-tide in the sea at night.

Pankaj Kala, who is professional diver, has been in the Indian Navy since 2004 and has been part of Indian Naval Diving Team in New Delhi. Reportedly, Kala is all set to take voluntary retirement from the defence by the end of this month. He was in Mumbai when the incident occurred.

Talking to mid-day, Kala said, "It was 8:15 pm on July 12 and I was having evening walk near Gateway of India. I was speaking to someone over the phone when I noticed stampede like situation right in front of me. People were asking for help as one woman was drowning in the sea."

According to our sources, nearly 100 tourists had gathered there but none of them dared to dive into the sea and save the drowning woman. It was night time and there was high tide in the sea. The spectators gathered at the spot and started clicking pictures and recording videos of the entire episode.

"It took nearly 10 seconds to me to decide before jumping into the sea with rough and high tidal waves in the night. I handed over my cellphone and wallet to one elderly woman and jumped into the sea sans removing clothes and shoes. The woman was crying for help. Due to the tidal waves, the woman was drifting towards the sea, but somehow I managed to swim closer to her," said Kala.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai police and Fire Brigade team had reached the spot, lowered 15 mm rope and pulled them up. "The rescue operation lasted for nearly 25 minutes," said one of the police officials from Colaba police station.

Following the rescue operation, the woman and Kala were rushed to St. George hospital where they were given immediate medical attention. "I had got my hand injured in the rescue operation," said Kala.

"Colaba police station appreciates the courage and sense of responsibility towards the community shown by Pankaj Kala, who is a Clearance Diver in the Indian Navy. We give him deepest gratitude for his courage and applaud the efforts and high level of commitment towards the community," said Shivaji Phadtare, senior inspector of Colaba police station.

While the chief public relations officer Commander Mehul Karnik said, "By saving the drowning person in challenging conditions and with total disregard for personal safety, the sailor has displayed a very high standard of moral and physical courage in keeping with the highest traditions of Indian Navy."

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