New Delhi, Apr 26: Nearly 550 Indians have been evacuated by the IAF from quake-hit Nepal even as India stepped up its relief and rescue mission with 10 flights and 12 helicopters scheduled to carry specialists and equipment to Kathmandu on Sunday.
Since 10:40 pm last night, four IAF aircraft have landed from Nepal with 546 Indians on board.
The first aircraft to land was a C-130J with 55 passengers on board, including four infants, a defence spokesperson said on Sunday.
Around midnight, a C-17 aircraft landed with 102 passengers which was followed by an IL 76 with 152. Around 4 am, a C17 landed with 237 passengers, all who were evacuated following the massive earthquake that has claimed over 1800 lives.
Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said Indian authorities have responded "very proactively, very swiftly and I think every agency, every stakeholder in India who matters in providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in Nepal in times of their need has been activated and the response has been exceptional". [Heritage sites destroyed by the Nepal earthquake]
"Today, we have planned to send 10 large bodied aircraft carrying loads of equipment of behalf of the Army specially some of their field engineering companies, regiments...One aircraft has already gone airborne and other aircraft is getting ready. The operation will continue the whole day," he said.
India, which was the first to respond to the Nepal crisis, is stepping up its mission.
Eight flights by the transport aircraft are scheduled for the day. They will be carrying equipment, relief material and specialist to Nepal.
Also on board with will the Army forward hospitals. At least 12 helicopters will be sent to Nepal on Sunday to help with search and rescue mission.