New Delhi: Braving adverse weather, Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters from Leh rescued 21 British nationals and one French national on August 6 and 7 from high altitude points in Ladakh.
The rescue could only be effected after five days of continuous downpour, which resulted in all major rivers of the region like the Indus, Nubra, Shyok and their tributaries in Ladakh region well above their respective danger marks.
Road and telephone communication was cut-off along most major roads. Like always, `Siachen Pioneers`, the premier IAF helicopter unit at Leh, was pressed into service to rescue the stranded foreigners.
The British nationals were stranded in the Markha Valley, with some members suffering from asthma. Information on exact location and injuries sustained by the trekkers at the time of the launch of rescue mission was ambiguous.
Two aircraft were launched led by Wing Commander BS Sehrawat.
He was assisted in the rescue operation by Flight Lieutenant Cirag as formation leader, besides Wing Commander KS Negi and Squadron Leader V Chauhan.The first batch of ten Britishers were rescued on August 6, while the second batch of eleven Britishers and an injured French woman were rescued on August 7.
The injured French lady had broken ribs and an injured spine and had to be evacuated to the Leh airfield and subsequently to the local hospital.