Extremely bad weather in North Gujarat hamper flood rescue, relief operations by Air Force choppers

Ahmedabad/Palanpur: The rescue and relief operation by Indian Air Force choppers in flood affected Banaskantha and adjoining areas in North Gujarat and neighboring Rajasthan was completely marred by extreme weather conditions today and a helicopter with food packets and other relief materials for worst affected Dhanera had to return after take off from Deesa.

Now at least 5 AIF choppers are waiting for dawn to start the rescue and relief ops tomorrow.

Defense spokesperson Abhishek Matiman today said that Inspite of having kept suitably equipped aircrafts ready in adequate numbers at 3 different IAF bases in the vicinity, the severe weather conditions prevailing over the worst affected districts throughout the day severely marred rescue operations.

2 MI-17 V5 helicopters from Jodhpur, 1 from Phalodi and 2 from Jamnagar, all prepared for takeoff at first light for rescue operations at various locations in Banaskantha (Gujarat), Pali and Jalore (Rajasthan) districts either couldn’t takeoff or had to return to base after encountering extremely bad weather en route to target areas, he said.

2 of the Helicopters having taken off from Jamnagar and Ahmedabad, eventually finding a window of opportunity managed to land at Deesa braving extremely challenging weather conditions throughout the route. The aircraft and crew maintained a perpetual state of readiness, through the day-their eyes glued to weather reports, occasionally gazing skywards hoping to find a clear patch to get into the act.

The weather conditions over Saurashtra and North Gujarat, particularly over the districts worst affected by flooding was predominantly overcast with widespread heavy showers and low clouds leading to poor visibility conditions accompanied by gale (strong winds).

One of the aircrafts did manage to takeoff from Deesa with food packets and relief material to be dropped at Dhanera in the late evening hours but had to return due to heavy rains over the target area as reports last came in, the army spokesperson said.

Aircrafts and crew are standing by at various locations for the night, hoping for negotiable weather tomorrow to resume rescue and relief work for their flood struck brethren on the ground, he said.