Guwahati, June 27 (IBNS): In a daring rescue act, IAF helicopters pilots from Mohanbari airbase near Dibrugarh in upper Assam on Wednesday evacuated eight people including three pregnant women and two accompanying doctors, from their stranded boat stuck in Dibong river, near Sadiya in Upper Assam.
Assam is facing a flood situation with several dying and thousands rendered homeless while the Majuli river island is threatened by submergence.
Wg Cdr Rosha, Flight Commander of 128 Helicopter Unit (also called 'Siachen Tigers'), and his crew comprising co-pilot Flt Lt Dogra, Flight Gunner Sgt Mohan and Flight Engineer Sgt Pratap Singh launched off on a mercy mission at around 1 pm, from Mohanbari airbase for the rescue mission.
Braving inclement weather, strong gusty winds and low clouds, the crew navigated to the stranded boat that was stuck on a sandy mound.
With deft skills, the pilot lowered the helicopter wheels to merely touch the nearby soft ground by holding on to the collective control, which require consummate piloting skills.
"Since it involved three pregnant women, winching them up as an option was totally ruled out," said Wg Cdr Rosha.
The crew had no option but to take on the stranded persons on board without winching.
"We carried out orbits and indicated to the stuck persons to wade through to the slightly hard surface area, whereupon the flight engineer and gunner could one-by-one help them climb aboard," the captain of the mission explained.
Meanwhile, in yet another casualty evacuation (casevac) mission from Haflong, in North Cachar Hills also on Wednesday, a woman with severe head injuries, was flown to Guwahati late in the evening by an IAF Mi-17 helicopter.
The IAF helicopter units and transport aircraft fleet under Eastern Air Command have since long undertaken several rescue, relief and casevac missions, more so during the monsoon period for any eventualities.
The two Mi-17 units based in Mohanbari – 127 and 128 HU – have been on standby for such mercy missions and have undertaken several relief missions since Tuesday.