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Indian Air Force rescues US national in Ladakh.

Ladakh, Aug 27(ANI): In a span of less than four days yet another daring rescue mission was successfully undertaken by pilots of Indian Air Force's Leh-based helicopter unit, when they evacuated US national Steven John Swenson from one of the most difficult glacier, named 'Shupka Kunzang' located at the base of Saser Kangri-II peak in the East Karakoram range of Ladakh region.

On Friday, an Indo-American team of mountaineers was braving the Saser Kangri-II peak, when one of the team members got seriously ill due to extremely high altitude.

The team requested for an immediate air rescue through their organizing agency and embassy.

On receiving the request, realizing the seriousness of casualty and criticality of time available during the day, HQ WAC swung into action seeking clearances, issuing orders and monitoring progress of the mission.

A two helicopter rescue team of 'Siachen Pioneers' Squadron led by Wg Cdr S. Srinivasan got airborne from Leh Air Force Base, within a matter of minutes.

The rescue team which comprised Wg Cdr D.C. Tiwari, Flt Lt A. Agrawal and Flt Lt A.K. Bharmoria, led by Wg Cdr S. Srinivasan knew well the challenges they were about to face, but upholding the unit tradition they decided to take on the mission and operated their machines to the fringes of their limits as the mission involved flying into unknown territory and landing at a density altitude of approximately 23000 ft over an inhospitable glacier.

Accurate navigation and correct assessment of the prevailing situation ensured that the helicopters reached the site at the earliest, which was vital in saving the life of the critically ill expedition member.

After assessing the landing site, which was covered with snow and wide crevasses of the glacier, Wg Cdr S. Srinivasan manoeuvered his helicopter to land in the restricted area with negligible reserve of power.

Without wasting any time the casualty was taken onboard while the second helicopter maintained a close vigil from the top.

Air Cmde S.P. Wagle VM, Air Officer Commanding Air Force Station Leh, personally supervised and coordinated the entire mission.

He was on the tarmac as the two helicopters landed after the successful evacuation at 4.51p.m.

The US national was transferred into a waiting ambulance, checked and stablised by the IAF medics and carried to General Hospital, Leh for further treatment. (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Aug 27, 2011
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