In what could be hailed as a world record, pilots and technicians successfully recovered a helicopter which was stuck in snow at an altitude of 18,000 feet at Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir. The entire operation took around six months after an ALH (Advanced Light Helicopter) Dhruv, on an air maintenance sortie at the 74-km-long Siachen Glacier, developed a glitch and had to be landed around a post called Khanda in January, news agency ANI.
Although, the pilots managed to land safely on soft snow, they could not reach the helipad there. However, the overnight snow resulted in its falling sideways. Since then several attempts were made to bring ṭhe chopper back but due to the dense snow, the soldiers failed to do so.
Finally in July, it was brought down to the Siachen Glacier base camp when the technicians and pilots of the Army ALH squadron 203 in Leh managed to put new parts on the chopper.
“I know the pilots and technicians who were involved in this operation. Knowing these people as I have headed this Army Aviation Corps for a couple of years, all I can say is that nothing is impossible for these men from Indian Army,” former Army Aviation chief Lt Gen PK Bharali (retd) told ANI on Tuesday.
The chopper was brought back safely to the Siachen base camp with the help of infantry troops deployed there.
According to ANI, the chopper was stuck at 18,000 feet and recovering it from there is a world record of sorts because India is one of the very few countries in the world who operate choppers at such high altitudes.
The Cheetah and Chetak choppers, which are French-origin machines in the Indian Army, fly at around 23,000 feet. The French military also doesn’t use them for such extreme operations where the margin of error is very thin.