On 15 Aug 17 as the nation was celebrating Independence day, tragedy struck a small village in Arunachal Pradesh called Hunli.
While returning back from the Independence Day celebration held at their school and crossing a small FSB foot suspension bridge the bridge collapsed seriously injuring the young school children.
The district adminstration immediately requested Gp Capt S J Pendse VM VSM Station Commander Air Force Station Mohanbari if a rescue mission could be launched.
Despite the region having experienced incessant rainfall and prolonged marginal weather the IAF quickly rose to the occasion and one MI-17 helicopter of 127 Helicopter unit with Wg Cdr K Vinoy as captain,Sqn Ldr N Dagur Co pilot,Sgt S Yadav Flt Engineer and Sgt Rajveer Flt Gunner was activated.
Within an hour and half of receiving the distress message on cessation of heavy rains at Dibrugarh the helicopter got airborne for Hunli. Negotiating marginal weather and extremely difficult terrain the helicopter was able to enter the valley testing the crew to its limits all the while.
The helicopter finally landed and waited at the helipad till all the available children along with their parents were evacuated. The return flight was equally challenging as the weather continued to deteriorate.
Utilising the extensive flying experience in the sector the air crew of 127 Helicopter Unit successfully completed the mission ensuring safe and timely evacuation of the school children. This definitely was one Independence day that the children, aircrew and all associated with this successful mission will remember for a long time.