New Delhi, Jun 23: With warning of rainfall in the next two days in flood-hit Uttarakhand, IAF on Saturday, June 22 pressed into service C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, which are customised for covert special operations and are capable of landing at makeshift and short runways, to evacuate stranded people from the state.
The Army has deployed around 10,000 personnel for the rescue operations in the state, while IAF has deployed more than 50 choppers and fixed wing aircraft to save people stuck there for over five days now.
IAF has so far flown around 150 sorties and evacuated over 1,400 people from places, including the worst-affected Kedarnath-Gaurikund axis.
"The first C 130J aircraft landed at Dharasu (a landing ground only 1300 feet long) in the early morning today despite inclement weather. On landing, the aircraft defueled 8000 litres of fuel into an empty bowser which was airlifted yesterday from Sarsawa by a Mi 26 helicopter," a Defence Ministry release said here.
This would help IAF to augment its efforts in that region as availability of more fuel would help in seamless operations of its choppers, it said. The C-130Js, three of which are dedicated for the rescue operations, have also been used to ferry people from Dharasu to Hindan air base near here. So far, over 300 people have been evacuated.
IAF has also inducted additional personnel to help in smooth flight operations of the over 50 choppers and fixed wing aircraft operating in the hill state. It has also employed an Antonov-32 aircraft which will deliver engineering equipment of Border Roads Organisation to the nearest air field from where it would be airlifted by Mi-26, the world's largest helicopter, to help the road constructing body to repair roads.