IAF rescues 4 fishermen stranded in Tawi river

JAMMU: Four fishermen were rescued by an Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter in a daring operation on Monday after they were stranded on an under-construction bridge at the swollen Tawi river here, officials said.

Two of the fishermen were stranded on a concrete platform near a pillar of the structure, which was being constructed to create an artificial lake known as the Tawi barrage project at Baghwati Nagar in the heart of the city, the officials said.

In a video of the rescue operation that has gone viral on social media, a Garud commando can be seen rappelling down the chopper and landing on the concrete platform where the two fishermen were stranded. The commando attached a harness to the two men, who were then airlifted to safety.

Two others were holding on to a ladder attached to a pillar of the structure. The well-coordinated operation saw some nervous moments when two of the fishermen fell into the water while they were being helped by a Garud commando to climb the rope ladder of the chopper, officials said.

Luckily, both the fishermen managed to swim to the corner, where they were subsequently rescued by the rescue personnel who were on the ground, an official said.

One of the rescued persons said he and his family were very thankful to the IAF for saving their lives. A large number of onlookers raised slogans in praise of the IAF and the country after the success of the operation, which lasted nearly two hours.

The civil administration made a request to the IAF after the police and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel found it difficult to reach the trapped persons, Superintendent of police (South) Vinay Kumar said.

The IAF received a message about the trapping of the four persons around noon after the water level in the Tawi river increased due to heavy rains, an IAF officer, who supervised the operation, said, adding that they were at the scene within half-an-hour.

"It was a daredevil operation undertaken by the IAF due to critical paucity of time," the officer said.

The highlight of the operation was the coordination between the helicopter pilot and the Garud commando who volunteered for the rescue operation, he said.

Lauding the IAF for the successful operation, the SP said: "It was one of the most dangerous and challenging operation and thankfully we were able to rescue all the four trapped persons."

In another incident near Harki Poudi in the city, a person, Talib Hussain from Udhampur, was stranded in the river and was rescued by a police team, led by Deputy Superintendent of Police R S Sahi, the officials said.

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