A pregnant woman plucked from a rooftop by the Indian Air Force last week in flood-ravaged Chennai has delivered healthy twin girls, drawing cheers from across the country amid a deepening humanitarian crisis.
TV channels beamed visuals on Monday of the daring aerial rescue of 28-year-old Deepthi Velachamy carried out on December 2 by IAF personnel who also airlifted her to the hospital two days later when she went into labour.
Neighbours perched on rooftops shouted encouragements as a Cheetah helicopter swooped down on Deepthi’s south Chennai home and took her to the city’s Tambaram air force base.
Her husband Karthik Velachamy, who works near Bengaluru, rushed to the site when word reached him.
Watch: Amateur footage of the IAF rescuing Mrs. Velchamy from the Chennai floods
She was later transported to the Sri Ramachandra Medical Hospital which had her medical records that Deepthi had lost when floodwater rushed into her fist floor flat.
She delivered the twins on December 4.
“I salute the IAF men,” an emotionally overwhelmed Karthik told a private television channel. “Our daughters have brought smiles to the faces of one and all.”
Defence personnel have rescued thousands of people marooned in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu struck by the state’s worst flooding in over a century that has wrecked communication lines and hit road, rail and air traffic.
Apart from Deepthi, the IAF airlifted three other pregnant women from Chennai and its suburbs which had no power or phone connectivity.
“Rescuing is a tough job and when I heard our boys are airlifting seven and nine-month pregnant women, I asked my colleagues, how are they doing it,” a top IAF official said.
(With agency inputs)