Had it not been for a passing fishing boat Niharika which had ventured into the sea late night, the life of Lieutenant Commander Nikhil Kuldip Joshi, who was flying the ill-fated Dornier aircraft that crashed into sea on Tuesday, could not be saved. Navy officials said that it was the fisherman on Niharika, who spotted Joshi afloat in an unconscious state and alerted the coastal security number. The fishermen who belonged to one of the fishing hamlets off Karwar in Karnataka picked him up and transferred Joshi to a naval Fast Interceptor Craft.

Had it not been for a passing fishing boat Niharika which had ventured into the sea late night, the life of Lieutenant Commander Nikhil Kuldip Joshi, who was flying the ill-fated Dornier aircraft that crashed into sea on Tuesday, could not be saved. Navy officials said that it was the fisherman on Niharika, who spotted Joshi afloat in an unconscious state and alerted the coastal security number. The fishermen who belonged to one of the fishing hamlets off Karwar in Karnataka picked him up and transferred Joshi to a naval Fast Interceptor Craft.The other two naval officers, a co-pilot and an observer who is a woman were still missing till the time of going to the press. Joshi, navy officials said was however stable after being attended at naval hospital Patanjali at Karwar by doctors flown in from Mumbai and Goa.The maritime surveillance aircraft which had taken off from the naval base in Goa for a routine night training sortie ditched into sea. The incident happened about 20 nautical miles south west of Goa. The aircraft lost radar and radio contact at 10:08 pm. Joshi was found an hour later some 10 nautical miles further south from the last location of the aircraft.There are 12 ships (including two ships from Indian Coast Guard) and four aircraft involved in the search and rescue operation. But Navy officials said that considering the speed of water current which is close to four nautical miles, the search and rescue operation area had been constantly growing and their task was becoming difficult by the hour.Since its induction in Navy in early 1990s, this was the first crash involving Donnier aircraft. Navy has a fleet of 36 Donnier aircrafts. This is also first crash of a navy aircraft whose crew included a woman officer.

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Karwar fishermen found the survivor Lt Commader Nikhil Kuldip Joshi afloat in unconscious state