Mahasweta Chakraborty, a 24-year-old lady pilot from Kolkata, recently flew on an emergency mission after receiving a late-night call.
The summons to report to duty was a normal one for the IndiGo pilot. But it turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Few people knew anything about the 24-year-old from Kolkata's New Town neighborhood. She has recently risen to prominence after it was discovered that she airlifted 800 Indian students from war-torn Ukraine's Polish and Hungarian borders.
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Between February 27 and March 7, Mahasweta conducted six evacuation flights - four from Poland and two from Hungary - as part of Operation Ganga.
It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Chakraborty recalled, rescuing those kids in their late teens and early twenties, many of whom had grown ill and had terrible survival stories. She said that she salutes their battling spirit and is incredibly glad to have played a role in their trip back home.
Priyanka Sharma, vice president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Mahila Morcha and the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, tweeted about Mahasweta's rescue mission.
As worries about the safety of thousands of people arose, Prime Minister Narendra Modi convened many high-level meetings to assess the situation on a regular basis. The opposition has also pressed the administration to expedite evacuations.
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According to reports, IndiGo operated the majority of the evacuation aircraft that brought Indians back from five distinct places in four Ukrainian bordering nations. While Ukrainian airspace remained banned, alternate routes from neighboring nations such as Poland, Hungary, the Slovak Republic, and Romania were devised, and special flights were organized.
Late at night, she received a call from her airline informing her that she had been selected for the rescue. She packed her belongings in two hours and fled. She traveled to Istanbul, two and a half hours from Poland, where they were told to conduct the rescue, according to Chakraborty.
She stated that the rescued kids were served food and refreshments on the flights since they were exhausted.
According to media sources, India dispatched 77 evacuation planes to Ukraine's borders. The activities began with Air India and have since expanded to include airlines such as SpiceJet and IndiGo.
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Chakraborty holds a degree from the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udan Akademi. She went to Auxilium Convent for her education and had always wanted to be a pilot.
At the height of the outbreak, Chakraborty flew in foreign oxygen contractor equipment and vaccinations to Kolkata and other airports.
Source: The Hindustan Times
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