IAF continues rescue mission in Himalayas

Last Updated 09 August 2015, 20:07 IST

In yet another daring rescue from the icy heights, two IAF helicopters pulled out an Israeli mountaineer in an unconscious state from a snow-covered mountain slope at an altitude of 18,300 ft overcoming the difficulties posed by the Himalayas.

While the helicopter skidded in the snow, the pilots managed to rescue the Israeli national, who fell from Stok Kangri — the highest mountain in the Stok range of the Himalayas in Ladakh.

Though the details are sketchy at the moment, IAF sources said that the mountaineer fell almost 3000 ft from the summit and was lying in an unconscious state when the two IAF Cheetah helicopters from Siachen Pioneers saw him and attempted the rescue.

The first chopper was being flown by Wg Cdr BS Sehrawat with Sqn Ldr Pankaj Borkar as his assistant while the second aircraft was flown by Wg Cdr K S Negi and Sqn Ldr A Antony.

One of the choppers managed to touch down on the slope but began skidding when came in contact with snow due to the steep gradient. In an exceptional show of piloting skill, and judgement, the IAF pilots picked him up. The difficulty gets further compounded by altitude, no reserve of power and snowbound terrain.

“The mountaineer is badly injured and in a critical condition. He is being treated in Sonam Norbu hospital in Leh,” says an IAF official.

On Friday, Sehrawat and Negi were instrumental in rescuing 21 British and one French national from the Markha Valley in Leh. Braving deteriorating weather and handicapped by a small time window, they managed to pull out everyone from Thinlespa village on the bank of the river.

The Ladakh region witnessed unprecedented heavy rains coupled with mud and rock slides resulting in sudden increase in water levels in almost all water bodies. Large stretches of roads were washed away snapping off telephone lines. A large number of people are stranded.

About 400 stranded tourists have been evacuated by the Army from flood-hit areas of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir as several villages of the region were cut off from the main land. “Vital bridges near Achinathang, Biamah and Khalsar areas were also washed away which resulted in a number of villages being cut off,” says a spokesperson from Army's northern command.

(Published 09 August 2015, 20:07 IST)

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