Kathmandu, April 26: Just days after it officially suspended the relief and rescue operations in Yemen, the Indian Air Force (IAF) had another challenging mission on hand following the massive quake that hit Nepal and surrounding areas.
The IAF displayed its ever-readiness when the first aircraft C-130J took off from Palam air base within 4 hours after the first tremors were reported.
"Within 04 hours one C-130J Hercules was air borne with 39 National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) personnel and 3.5 tonnes of load. It was the first aircraft to land in Kathmandu yesterday," IAF spokesperson Rochelle D'Silva said. The C-130 J is a heavy lift aircraft of the IAF.
Giving details of the relief and rescue operation, Rochelle said the first mission was followed by two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft heading to Nepal.
"One was carrying 96 NDRF personnel with 15 tonnes of load and another aircraft carrying Rapid Action Medical Team (RAMT) with 24 officers and paramedics on board," she said. Similar to C-139 J, the C-17s too are heavy lift aircraft of the IAF.
The IAf official said that the C-17s was tailed within hours by the trusted workhorse of the IAF, an IL-76 aircraft, which took off from Bathinda having 160 NDRF personnel, 05 sniffer dogs and 28 tonnes of load.
"A total of 546 personnel have been rescued so far in the day and night long operations from the Nepal," she added.
10 transport aircraft leave for Kathmandu
On Sunday, the 10 fixed wing transport aircraft from various IAF bases have taken off to Kathmandu.
These aircraft were carrying water, engineering task force, field hospitals, 8000 thousand blankets, 500 tents, 14 tonnes of noodles, 34 paramedics, 100 stretches, one tonne of medicine and 6 tonnes of pre-cooked food.
The IAF said that six Medium Lift Helicopters are also tasked to carry out casualty evacuation and rescue and relief measures.
IAF pilots undertake terrain familiarisation sorties
Ministry of Defence Spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said that the Nepalese Army pilots are also flying on board Indian helicopters to familiarise the Indian pilots with the terrain.
An IAF official told OneIndia that the last aircraft lat landed in India had 237 passengers onboard.
"The IAF helicopters are flying almost non-stop since this morning. Some more sorties are underway. The plan is to drop relief supplies in worst-affected valleys in case landing is not possible," Kar said.
According to him, the worst-affected districts are Gorkha, Dhading, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchok, Kavrepalanchok and Dolakha.
He confirmed that all movements to Kathmandu were kept on hold till 4 pm owing to fresh tremors being reported in Nepal.
The Indian Army has officially named the aid to Nepal mission as Operation Maitri. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had confirmed earlier today that a total of 1500 have been evacuated so far.