JAMMU: A modified Bell helicopter, belonging to the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Aviation Department, played a vital role in rescuing people from flood-hit areas in the Valley and saved as many as 261 marooned people, stranded at different places.
"For a non-military civilian helicopter, this act of rescuing trapped people... over four consecutive days from rooftops, pulling them physically by hand, may well be an unprecedented achievement anywhere," officials of the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Aviation department said today.
As the city was completely submerged, there was no place for the helicopter to land and after considering many options one door of the helicopter was removed, they said.
The plan was to bring the helicopter to low hover near the victims on the rooftops and pull them up physically, if possible or drop food packets, the officials said.
The Pilots, Gp Capts Bhattacharya and Samir Kaul along with Constable Javaid Bhat after thorough briefing set out to undertake the mission, they said.
The areas from where rescue mission was carried out were primarily the localities of Indra Nagar, Rajbagh, Shivpura, Tulsi bagh, Gogji bagh, Civil Secretariat, Batmaloo and Hotel Management training institute (Rajbagh), the officials said.
In a colossal effort over the four days period from September 8-11, 149 sorties were flown, wherein, 261 victims were pulled to safety from rooftops by the Bell helicopter, they added.
This was first of its kind operation by the state-owned helicopter that helped in rescuing the stranded people, they said.