IAF casevac Swiss nationals from Zanskar valley

New Delhi, Sep 13: Leh-based Siachen Pioneers of Indian Air Force (IAF) on Thursday casevaced two Swiss nationals from Zanskar valley in Jammu & Kashmir, who were on a holiday and trekking the hills of Ladakh.
The Switzerland Embassy at Delhi requested for their evacuation to Leh at the earliest.
“Barbara de Rham and Antoine, her husband, were on a holiday, trekking the hills of Ladakh in the Zanskar valley. Barbara developed acute symptoms of ‘altitude sickness’ which required the immediate evacuation to a place with better medical facilities,” Palam Defence PRO Wing Commander AR Giri said.
Since Western Air Command’s helicopter unit Siachen Pioneers was closest to the site of incident, it was tasked with the mission to evacuate them. The unit also has experienced pilots of flying the treacherous Zanskar valley.
The valley is known for its extremely turbulent weather, especially in the afternoons and is devoid of any suitable forced landing fields.
Since terrain is inhospitable and poor weather conditions, two choppers were deployed for the mission.
Squadron Leader Sangram Patil led the mission and safely evacuated the woman and her husband to Leh Air Force station from where she was taken to the civil hospital.
“The lady displayed acute symptoms of dehydration when I checked her on landing. This could be a case of acute mountain sickness and it was best that she was evacuated to a better medical facility” said senior medical officer of Leh Air Force Station Squadron Leader K Anurag, who attended to the patient on landing.
The unit was formed with an establishment of 10 Chetak helicopters. This unit had the distinction of being the first All-Chetak unit raised in the IAF. (UNI)