First Mi-17 sortie in Kedarnath drops funeral materials

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Gauchar, June 25: Landing its first big helicopter in the difficult Kedarnath area, the IAF today not only dropped logistics for funeral of the dead in the area but also picked few mortal souls.

The aviators have also developed a roller-skates pulley mechanism to drop the heavy load of firewood and other material from a height of 15-20 metres while keeping the Mi-17 helicopter air borne.

IAF rescue operation

"We have dropped the material from the first sortie we undertook today morning to Kedarnath. On way back we evacuated few people," Wing Commander Felix Pinto told PTI at the helipad here.

The IAF plans to send about 2-3 more sorties with a payload of about 2 tonnes of funeral material to Kedarnath so that state government authorities can begin the last rites of the dead.

The IAF has fabricated a skate board system overnight, wherein wooden plyboards are tied to the metal wheels on the floor of the chopper and then the load is tied upon them and at the designated place of drop, the strings are pulled to release the material. Flt Lt D S Rathore said the weather in Kedarnath is not very good but still the IAF is trying its best to operate in the area and provide the air support.


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