"I am not from Goa. I am from Mumbai," Darrell Castellino, who was the commander of the ill-fated Mi-17 helicopter that crashed on Tuesday in Gaurikund, had said when asked if his second name suggested he hails from the beach state.
Castellino, who was piloting the big chopper in the Garhwal hills to rescue people, looked tired but enthusiastic yesterday when he was greeted at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) camp where he was staying with one of his pilots.
Tall and dark, Castellino was happy that he was getting to wear his dark green jumpsuit for a big operation to "bring in more and more live people" stranded and battered by heavy rains and flash floods since over a week.
Castellino was even complimented for his good work by ITBP DIG Amit Prasad when he was having dinner at the officers' mess, which the IAF warrior returned with a compliment.
"Arey sir aapke ladke bhee bahut zabardast kaam kar rahein haiin (Sir, your boys too are doing a great job)," he replied to the ITBP commander.
With his comment, he proved his friends correct who said he always used to return a compliment.
Along with Castellino four other officers were killed in the fatal mishap. They were Flt Lt Kapoor and Flt Lt Praveen, Seargent Sudhakar and Junior Warrant Officer A K Singh.
This is the first crash of the newly inducted Mi-17 V5. The flying machine which went down belonged to 157 Helicopter Base in Barrackpore, West Bengal.