Sunday, April 17, 2011

Three American citizens rescued from snowstorm in North Sikkim

Gangtok, April17: In a rescue operationon carrried out at an altitude of 11,000 feet above the sea level, three American citizens were rescued by a Pawan Hans helicopter from Sikkim early on Saturday morning.
The three Americans, all in their late seventies, were caught in a snowstorm near Naga Falls and Tosar Lake in North Sikkim. The Pawan Hans’s Bell 206, the only one that the Sikkim Government has, made a sortie on Friday, but could not locate the three.
“I have been a part of several rescue operations, but what is extraordinary about this operation is that it was carried out with a 45-year-old Bell 206 helicopter. The stranded passengers had made a L-shaped helipad overnight,” Captain Rajbir Singh Brar, the pilot of the Bell-206, told The Indian Express over phone.
Clearer weather early on Saturday, at 6.45 am, helped in the rescue.
“We had attempted rescue at about 11 am on Friday, but very high altitude and bad weather meant we could not do it. But on Saturday we took off early in the morning and carried the fuel with us and not in the tanks. We had realised the aircraft weight had to be reduced to help it climb,” Captain Brar said.

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