Bengaluru, Feb 12: In the emotive gush, all, including the media while delineating gratitude to martyrs, appeared to have forgotten one aspect in Siachen incident, that is of rescue operators. What is the scale of people who spoke about the rescue team operating at Siachen battling the furious nature?
Air Marshal (retired) B K Pandey raises a valid point subtly questioning the eyes those are blind on the hard plight of army men tasked with tough work of carrying the rescue operation at Siachen.
"While all eyes of the country are today on Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, as indeed they should be, spare a thought for the valiant men of the Indian Army who threw themselves into the search and rescue mission in that god forsaken land," Pandey touched a real point.
Pandey, in an E-Mail conversation with OneIndia puts in perspective the efforts of rescue workers. He putting across the facts says, the Sonam post where the avalanche occurred is located at an altitude of approximately, 20, 500 feet. The temperature averagely at this cold geography hovers around - 25 degree Celsius (day) to - 45 degree Celsius. The condition is hard to carry out rescue operation.
Moreover, workers have to shoulder the burden of carrying rock drills, electrical saws, specialised equipment, survival rations and personal gear, which put together would measure up to 40 kgs. "Each person has to carry all these equipment," Pandey explained.
The ice debris, an impact of avalanche, covered an area of 800 meters to 1000 meters, in other words 25 feet to 30 feet in terms of depth. The ice boulders of colossal size, a few size of small room had submerged the post. Most of these are ice blue as hard and as tough as concrete.
The rescue operators braving snowstorms, bizarre cold conditions where the personal risk is high- cut, drilled, sawed and dug through tons of ice and snow. Thanks to their morale. Through night and day, 6 days in a row, they kept at it, throwing everything they had into it, Pandey said.
Chances of finding a survivor in an avalanche, they say goes down to approx 20 % within 3 hours. In 6 hrs, that goes down further to 1%. But that didn't daunt or shake the resolve of these 200 odd men. Pandey further continued saying, for these men, probability never counts, what utmost matters is lives of their own men tragically trapped inside the sheets of ice, and trapped once have to be pulled out at any cost.
Pandey moving towards technical details says it is interesting to understand the logistic back up chain that came up to aide 200 rescue men. At these heights, a Chetak helicopter, can carry just one to two jerrycans of fuel or kerosene at a time.
The fuel and kerosene required to light up the area, specialised equipment like radars and power communication equipment and others would require hundreds of flying hours.
The logistics chain shall require pushing in of fuel, equipment, rations, standby troops, medical support, weather warning radars. Even by the most modest estimate, that shall translate to tens of thousands of man hours over a six day period, Pandey added.
All this to rescue ten men, who by every acknowledged line of reasoning, rational or otherwise stood no chance in hell of having survived.