The Indian Air Force conducted a daring rescue operation today to save the lives of two men who were left stranded on a barrage wall by the rising floodwaters of the Tawi River in Jammu and Kashmir.
In a dramatic video of the rescue effort, the men, believed to be fishermen, can be seen squatting on the wall while the muddy waters of the Tawi swirl dangerously all around. Swimming to safety was never an option because of the ferocious speed at which the river was flowing; all they could do was wait and hope to be rescued.
An initial rescue effort led by the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) failed and it was then that the Air Force was called in, dispatching a helicopter from Jammu.
In the video, as the IAF helicopter approaches the stranded men, one man steps out of the aircraft and is winched down, landing expertly on a small strip of concrete that is almost the same colour as the fast-flowing muddy water of the river.
Once down, he makes his way to the stranded men and attaches the rope around their waists, all the while signaling to the helicopter above to maintain altitude and position. Once the winch is attached to the two men, the helicopter climbs slowly, taking them to safety.
The entire effort was a stunning display of bravery, teamwork and precision.
"The aircraft will have to hover over the area while someone comes down with a winch... exact coordination between the pilot and the person on the ground is crucial," Group Captain Anupam Banerjee, IAF PRO, told NDTV, adding, "It is also a very precise climb that the pilot will have to carry out, to ensure the people being winched up are safe."
Rain fury has unfolded in north India after several states in southern and western parts of the country were hit by floods earlier this month. Karnataka, Maharashtra and Kerala have been the worst-hit states where lakhs have been displaced out of their homes.
At least 24 people have been killed in Himachal, where landslides have left tourists stranded. In Uttarakhand, flash floods in Uttarkashi district struck several villages; a cloudburst in Mori block killed 17 and two locals had to be airlifted this morning.