Chandigarh air base presses transport aircraft in service for Nepal relief Ops
A U.S. Air Force plane, background and an Indian army helicopter are parked on the tarmac of the Kathmandu international airport the day after a massive earthquake devastated the region, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, April 26, 2015. (AP Photo)
Transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force stationed in Chandigarh have been pressed into service for the earthquake relief operations being carried out in Nepal. Four IL-76 and one AN-32 aircraft of Chandigarh-based 12 Wing are flying sorties to Kathmandu carrying relief material from other parts of the country.
The first IL-76 from the air base was pressed into service yesterday evening at around 4:15 pm, barely two hours after the IAF was sounded an alert about impending relief operations. Speaking to The Indian Express, Air Commodore SK Indoria, Air Officer Commanding of the base said that the first sortie lifted 160 NDRF personnel from Bathinda to Kathmandu along with three sniffer dogs and several tonnes of relief material.
“This aircraft brought back to Delhi 152 Indians who were stranded in Kathmandu before it returned back to Chandigarh,” informed Air Commodore Indoria. One of the pilots involved in the initial sortie said that while the Kathmandu airport was functional and aircraft were being able to land there yet the aftershocks were still continuing. “Even while we were there at 10 pm last night, we felt two aftershocks,” said Wing Commander Sandeep Singh Chhabra.
Two IL-76 aircraft have now been despatched to Agra from where they will be airlifting field hospital to Kathmandu. One more IL-76 aircraft and an AN-32 aircraft has been stationed in delhi to cater for the relief operations which are being coordinated from there.
Air Commodore Indoria informed that the technical crews of the station worked round the clock in order to keep the aircraft in flying condition. The heavy lift chopper MI-26, which is one of the biggest in the world and can transport great loads, is also based in Chandigarh and is being kept in a stand by condition to carry heavy loads to Nepal whenever required.
Chandigarh air base has been actively involved in almost all relief operations which have followed natural calamities over the years. The aircraft of this base flew extensively during the Bhuj earthquake in 2001 and then again in 2005 when heavy snowfall paralysed vast areas of Jammu and Kashmir. The station was also in the thick of action in the aftermath of the devastation in Uttarakhand floods and recently when floods hit Jammu and Kashmir last year.
Source:: Indian Express