More than 500 people have been rescued in a week by the Air Force in flood-hit Karnataka, where 48 people have died and lakhs have been forced out of homes, Air Marshal SK Ghotia said today, adding that the Indian Air Force pilots are "trained for tough situations".
"The rescue operations have been conducted in a smooth manner so far. Three hundred and sixty five people, including foreign tourists, were rescued on Monday and we have been tasked to rescue another 200 people from Hampi today," he said.
Sixteen people are still missing after floods hit several parts of the state last week. More than 1,000 villages have been affected and 40,000 houses have been damaged. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa today sought an assistance of Rs 1,000 crore from the centre for relief work.
In the last one week, several dramatic rescue operations in the flood-affected states by the IAF have been caught on camera.
Despite the challenges, Air Marshal SK Ghotia said, the rescue operations are being conducted efficiently because the pilots are trained for tough situations. "An NDRF officer's boat overturned yesterday and an IAF team promptly responded to save him," he shared.
Five helicopters are involved in the rescue operations in Karnataka being carried out by a task force of 50-70 people, Air Marshal SK Ghotia added.
"The first mission was undertaken from Hubbli, then we went to Belgaum, another area badly hit by deluge, and then to other locations. We collaborated with the district administration to respond swiftly," he said.
The Air force is deployed in areas where the NDRF teams cannot reach, he told the reporters, adding that the teams will be on standby in the state. "We are also capable of holding operations in the night but we haven't held any such operations so far in the state," the senior IAF officer added.