THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Remember that 27-second viral video during the floods where an Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel slid down a rope from an MI-17 V5 helicopter and winched up a toddler to safety?
Meet wing commander B Prasanth of IAF's special operation force 'Garud', the man behind that daredevil act. A resident of Kuttichal in the outskirts of the city, Prasanth was at the event to attend the 'Know Your Forces' campaign organised by the Air Force Station, Thiruvananthapuram under the aegis of Southern Air Command.
Though he was busy briefing students and cadets from NCC and Sainik School about the gadgets and weaponry used by Garud during counter-insurgency operations, Prasanth talks to Express about the rescue and relief operation carried out by his team under Operation Karuna. "As soon as we were told to participate in the flood rescue and relief operation, a 22 member Garud team left the Sulur Air Force Station in Karnataka. It was a large scale operation. The commandos alone could save around 1,000 flood-affected people," said Prasanth.
"It has been 13 years since I joined the Garud force. This was my biggest challenge," said Prasanth. "The water had submerged everything. I could see people neck-deep water and placing their children on their shoulders. Others frantically were looking for food and water," he said. According to him, though his team is specialized in counter-terrorism and anti-Naxal operations, they had successfully marked their presence during Cyclone Ockhi, Theni forest fire and during the floods. The two-day campaign that concluded on Wednesday was attended by around 3,000 students from over 41 educational institutions.