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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

IAF rescues 12 officials, chopper in Uttarakhand

PTI  New Delhi, July 12, 2013
First Published: 20:42 IST(12/7/2013) | Last Updated: 20:44 IST(12/7/2013)

The Indian Air Force rescued 12 people including state government officials stuck in the Kedarnath temple complex and supplied rations to others there involved in the work to reopen the roads.

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Amid threat of landslides, the air force personnel flew an ALH MK-I helicopter parked at ITBP helipad to safety at night, landing the aircraft using torches and vehicle lights in inclement weather.

"An Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv was launched by the IAF to rescue the officials stuck there due to bad weather and to provide over 280 kg rations for the people who will stay there for work," an IAF official said in New Delhi.

Parts of the already rain-ravaged Uttarakhand are going through another spell of bad weather and efforts are being made to provide relief material to all the places there.

In another incident, IAF pilots flew their chopper in the midnight to evacuate their chopper from a helipad facing the threat of a land slide to a safe landing area in Gauchar there.

"Our pilots realised that their ALH MK-I parked at ITBP helipad and was likely to get damaged by the landslide. The pilots would not leave their machine behind and only alternative was to fly it out by night, in the drizzle and poor weather," an IAF release said.

The ITBP helipad is only five to seven minutes away from the Gauchar Advanced Landing Ground but with no night aids available with them and rules barring any night flying, the pilots with the advise of their task force commander, took out the chopper safely.

The IAF officer in-charge of operations there activated other pilots and personnel to light up the area using torches and vehicle lights to help it in landing.

The chopper could reach Gauchar only at 2355 hours in the dark drizzling valley and negotiating the bad weather.

The IAF has overall rescued over 20,000 people from higher reaches of Uttarakhand to safety in over 2,800 sorties flown by its choppers and fixed-wing aircraft.


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