Coimbatore: A major fire broke out at a large garbage dump in Vellaloor on the outskirts of Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu in the early hours of Monday, the Indian Air Force (IAF) issued in a statement. On request from the state administration, 109 Helicopter Unit (HU) based at Air Force Station in Sulur was pressed into service for the fire fighting operations.
A Mi-17V-5 helicopter was immediately airborne to carry out a reconnaissance of the area for ascertaining the scope and type of fire fighting required, read the statement.
Aerial spraying of water by the Mi-17V-5 helicopter from Air Force Station in Sulur using Bambi buckets to extinguish the fire was underway. The Bambi bucket carried by the Mi-17V-5 helicopter is capable of carrying a maximum of 3,500 litres of water at a time which can be replenished with water from any water body with a depth of just two metres, the statement added.
The focus of the helicopter operation by the IAF was to prevent the spread of fire to contiguous areas before concentrating the effort on dousing it completely. The aerial fire fighting operation by the IAF was carried out in close coordination with the local authorities including the city police.