BHUBANESWAR: Which claimed 20 lives and left 50 injured on Friday, saw air ambulance being used for the first time in the State for rescue and relief of accident victims. At least five critically injured persons were airlifted from Angul to Cuttack by two choppers that were converted into air ambulances as an exigency measure by the State Government. The first helicopter, used by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, shifted one injured passenger from Angul whereas the second was a 22-seater Pawan Hans chopper that is used by the Special Operation Group, the elite anti-Naxal squad of State Police. This chopper airlifted four persons.
Both the choppers landed at Satyabrata Stadium at Cuttack. Since the mishap had left over 50 persons hurt, some of them grievously injured, the administration wanted them shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital at the earliest. The Angul administration mobilised ambulances from corporate houses, which have their facilities in the district while locals chipped in with support. However, the critically hurt required immediate evacuation for which the Government decided to press in the two choppers. The first challenge was to find a place for landing and no such site was available at Manitri. At Athmallick, which was 3 km from the accident spot, the only ground was covered with rain water and mud which was why it was rejected.
Collector Anil Samal said the administration earmarked a ground at Angul where the injured were being shifted to the hospital. The first chopper landed at 2 pm and carried one patient to Cuttack. The health officials had deployed necessary medical support in the chopper. At about 3 pm, the SOG chopper came in with Director, Public Health, Kailash Dash and other staff on board. The seats altered and medical support systems installed, the copper flew back with four more injured passengers. “The Department had placed six ambulances at Satyabrata Stadium where the injured were immediately shifted to SCB Medical. In the shortest possible time, the Government made the best utilisation of available resources,” Samal said. As many as 25 patients have been admitted to SCB Medical where special arrangements have been made. Das said a special general ward with 26 beds and ICU for 10 patients were earmarked. At least three passengers were under intensive care. A team of doctors are attending to the patients. Health Minister Atanu Sabyachi Nayak also visited the hospital to take stock of the arrangements .