saving lives On 24 Dec 18 at 1040 hrs Indian Air force launched two Cheetah helicopters, of the Udhampur based unit “HOVERING HAWKS” to carry out casualty evacuation from Chanderkot helipad on short notice.
As per initial information received a civil bus on move from Badgam to Kanpur fell into the valley near Ramban which led to several critical casualties.
At 10:45 hrs, 02 heptrs and 02 set of crew were standby to takeoff from Udhampur to Chanderkot helipad where the casualties were initially evacuated.
On getting a go-ahead for one heptr at 1050 hrs, Wg Cdr V Mehta as captain with co-pilot Arunima Vidhate got airborne from Udhampur. Meanwhile, after ascertaining the requirement, on the call of Wg Cdr V Mehta, the second heptr got airborne from Udhampur with SqnLdr SK Prasad as captain and Flt Lt Siddhant Yadav as co-pilot.
The first heptr landed at Chanderkot Helipad & picked up 03 critically injured Jawans of ITBP who were amongst the 09 critically injured traveling in a fateful bus. The other heptr landed at 1225 hrs and picked 02 remaining critical Jawans along with a medical attendant. 04 Casualties were picked up by civil helicopter.
“Due to the power station and several microwave towers on the eastern side of the helipad, heptrs had to carry out one-sided approaches and take offs with thorough traffic coordination with civil helicopters. Additionally, the site had limited maneuvering space” said the mission leader and captain of the lead aircraft Wg Cdr Vishal Mehta.
Both the heptrs continued to Jammu airport, where the ambulance was ready to attend the casualty. The casualties suffered serious injuries which included facial/head injuries, fractured leg and major bruises on arms.
Although they had been recovered from the accident site to Ramban DH their situation was highly critical and speedy evacuation to a better medical facility was the only lifesaving measure available.
The crew of HOVERING HAWKS executed the mission with extreme professionalism keeping up the highest traditions of the IAF.