(Press release | Unedited)A Mi-17 helicopter from the ‘Siachen Tigers’ unit got airborne from Mohanbari and landed on a makeshift helipad which was made by marking ‘H’ on the national highway by-pass of Tinsukia town road after blocking the road from both sides as excessive rain throughout the past week had caused flooding of the regularly used helipad. After switch off, a total of 2.4 Tonnes of relief material was loaded in the aircraft. The crew located the flooded villages in Chapakhowa area and carried out drops of relief material at soft grounds easily accessible by the villagers. In the process of drop, while flying over ‘Panch mile’ village, many people were found stranded on a road and were indicating for help. The crew carried out an orbit of the area to check the feasibility of landing since winching would have wasted a lot of time and the number of people was in excess of 50 and also the area around the road was heavily flooded.
After taking all the safety aspects into considerations, picked up the stranded people. A second shuttle was also carried out to rescue the leftover people. There after they were taken to the helipad at Chapakhowa. A total of 2.4 Tonnes load comprising of relief material was dropped and 60 people including 10 children were rescued.
In Tezu too: The Indian Air Force received a request from District Collector Tezu of Arunachal Pradesh for air evacuation of people marooned and stranded close to Tezu due floods. A Mi-17 helicopter which was on standby for flood relief mission was launched from Air Force Station Mohanbari, Dibrugarh for the rescue mission.
Expectedly, route was embedded with low clouds and heavy spells of rain. Considering the gravity of the mission, the crew negotiated the weather in a professional manner and reached Tezu helipad, where the DC was called inside the aircraft and thereafter a thorough briefing was carried out. After flying to the general area, the aircraft was established into a search pattern. Seven survivors were spotted who had taken refuge on a dry patch of land which was surrounded by high trees. A steep approach was made and thereafter the helicopter descended into a low hover in a controlled manner and a ladder was lowered and the seven people were rescued.
The crew overcame the problem faced by the Crew at the place was reduced visibility due to rain and difficulty in position keeping because of the moving mass of water underneath and skillfully maneuvered the aircraft to rescue the stranded people. Thereafter the aircraft took off in search of the second place where people were stranded. A small island was located about 8 miles west of Tezu town in between two raging rivers where around 20-30 people including old people, ladies and children were sighted. The helicopter descended into low hover as the ground below was marshy and water logged. A total of 32 survivors were pulled in from low hover in two subsequent sorties and were dropped at Tezu .
Mi-17 helicopters and AN-32 transport aircraft are placed on stand by for flood relief operations for civil populace at various Air Force bases as the water level of the mighty river Brahmaputra and its tributaries were hovering around the danger mark.