New Delhi: The Leh-based helicopter unit of
the Indian Air Force has rescued two foreign nationals from
the higher reaches of Padam valley in Zanskar ranges of
Ladakh, IAF sources said on Wednesday.
Some of the members of a nine-member trekking expedition
comprising Czech and Slovakian nationals, developed high
altitude sickness while camping in Shinkun La area, around 60
km south-east of Padam in Ladakh.
While one member of the team succumbed to illness, two of
them- Kristina Chnapekova and Valasske Mezrici, Slovak and
Czech nationals respectively, developed critical
complications, following which the team requested for
emergency air rescue through their embassy here, the sources
The 114 Helicopter Unit, nicknamed Siachen Pioneers, of
the IAF was soon pressed into service on Monday and a two
helicopter rescue team led by Wing Commander A S Rajput was
tasked to complete the mission.
The mission which included restricted landing site,
negligible reserve of power, limited availability of day
light, valley clearance and unprepared landing site was
personally supervised by Air Officer Commanding (AOC) of Leh
Air Force Station Air Commodore S P Wagle.
The casualty evacuation took place at an altitude of
17000 feet and the helicopter team landed back well beyond the
sunset time almost in darkness.