SONAMARG: On 23rd evening, Air Force station Srinagar received information that two civilians were stranded in Sonamarg sector which had been hit by a catastrophic avalanche. After thorough rescue mission planning and briefing, rescue helicopter was launched but the inclement weather precluded any rescue attempt.
At the first opportunity on 24th early morning, the IAF helicopter, commanded by Wing Commander Vikram Singh along with Flight Lieutenant R Desai, LAC AK Singh and Major Khati of Indian Army got airborne again from the Air Force station Srinagar to rescue the stranded civilians. During the search of the affected area, they discovered that there were nine civilians stranded there.
The avalanche hit area was totally covered with deep snow with no possible landing ground in the vicinity. Displaying exceptional flying skill and professionalism, hovering literally at the snow level, the pilots carried three personnel at a time and in four shuttles they extricated the nine civilians to safety. The Army, civilian authorities and the local population were full of praise for the exceptional professionalism displayed by the IAF pilots.