UDHAMPUR: The Udhampur based Helicopter Unit received an urgent request from the J&K government on 17 Feb 2012 for evacuating an injured civilian. The civilian was injured in an avalanche and had to be evacuated from village Tanta Kuthal in Doda district. The exact coordinates of the place were not known and it was confirmed that there was no helipad available and the pilot would have to look for a open ground to undertake a landing.
Wing Commander Ajay Bhardwaj, Commanding Officer of Udhampur based Chetak helicopter unit undertook this challenging task along with Flight Lieutenant Milind as Co pilot. The general area of evacuation was snow bound and the pilots used their experience to identify the site. Since the place was on steep snow bound hill at an elevation of 8000 feet and no open place was available, the villagers had made a roof top as a make shift helipad.
On identifying the site, the pilots used their superior flying skills to manoeuvre the helicopter so that it could land on the roof top. On landing at the roof top helipad, it was realized that the make shift helipad was not able to take the weight of the helicopter, therefore the Captain of the helicopter, Wing Commander Ajay Bhardwaj decided to hold the helicopter lightly on wheels and load up the casualty.
The captain displayed exemplary skills and courage to hold on controls when the casualty was being loaded. Thereafter the aircraft got airborne for Jammu where the casualty was handed over to the Medical team for medical aid. The IAF displayed professionalism and their dedication to service to the nation by carrying out this challenging task. The image of the IAF helicopters as being “life savers” in J&K area was once again highlighted.