Amarnath tragedy: Drones, choppers, high-tech gadgets pressed into service for rescue ops

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Drones and helicopters were pressed into service and mountain rescue teams and lookout patrols with high-tech equipment and sniffer dogs deployed as operations continued on Saturday to look for survivors near the Amarnath cave shrine.

The Indian Army on Saturday said that the rescue operation was underway and the first advanced light helicopter (ALH) landed at the spot around 6.45am to airlift the civilians.

“The rescue team immediately rushed to the site on getting information about casualties. An infantry battalion, an additional company from the sector RR and a special forces team reached the holy cave along with specialised rescue equipment,” army spokesperson Colonel Emron Masuvi said in a statement.

He said all the medical resources at holy cave and Nilagrar were activated and additional resources deployed.

“Two ALH were moved for casualty evacuation, but due to bad weather, night landing at cave was unsuccessful,” he added.

Lt Gen ADS Aujla, GOC Chinar Corps and Maj Gen Sanjiv Singh Slaria, GOC Kilo Force, visited the holy cave early in the morning to review the efforts being undertaken by the army.

“Citizens are advised to contact on army helpline 9149-7209-98 for assistance/enquiry. Callers are also advised to have details of yatris such as name, yatra registration /RFID number, contact number, Aadhaar number and the last known location and time,” the spokesperson said.

Indian Air Force (IAF) too has pressed its transport and helicopters into service for rescue and relief operations at the cave shrine of Amarnath in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Indian Air Force has pressed its transport and helicopter assets into service for rescue and relief operations at Amarnath. Mi-17V5 helicopters have inducted NDRF and civil administration personnel at Panchtarni and rescued 21 survivors. The helicopters have also brought back six mortal remains. Further operations by IAF Mi-17V5 and Cheetal helicopters are in progress. Aircraft are on standby at all major air bases in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh areas,” the IAF said in a statement.

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