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IAF executes mission to restore power connections in Banihal

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Cheetah Helicopter Unit based at Udhampur was deployed for the mission on January 23 following a request from Power Grid Corporation Ltd to airlift a seven-member repair team to Banihal top for conducting repairs on a 300 MW power line, IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Gerard Galway said here today.

"The mission involved high degree of risk as the helicopter was required to operate close to high tension cables and pylons at about 10,000 ft near Banihal pass, an area known for high turbulence and strong winds," he said.

Prior to the mission, a recce was carried out on January 22 to assess the slope, gradient and depth of snow and a suitable landing site to drop the team.

On Wednesday, Wing Cdr N Batra along with Sqn Ldr Milind got airborne at first light and dropped the repair team at the selected site in four shuttles and returned to Udhampur for refuelling the aircraft.

Realising that the weather was fast deteriorating and the repair team had to be picked up at the earliest, the crew took another helicopter and carried out four shuttles from the site to lower Banihal to get them to safety.

In spite of lack of visual references, sub-zero temperatures, adverse wind conditions coupled with high density of obstructions, the whole operation was accomplished with precise accuracy, the IAF spokesperson said.

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First Published: Thu, January 24 2013. 20:35 IST