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August 6, 2012

IAF rescues trapped foreign tourists in Ladakh

     New Delhi: Pilots of the Leh-based Helicopter Unit evacuated two foreign nationals, Czech brothers Lucas and Tomas Pfeifer, from the higher reaches of the Padam Valley in the Zanskar Ranges of Ladakh region on August 5 when two members of the trekking team sustained injuries after a fall. Members of a Czech Republic trekking expedition, suffered injuries while crossing a river near Testha Village in Zanskar Valley . Lucas Pfeifer was critically injured in a fall resulting in knee fracture and ligament tear, rendering him completely immobile. His brother Tomas also sustained injuries while trying to support him during the fall. The injury, inclement weather, high altitude and their remote location combined forced the team to request for emergency air rescue through their embassy and the Government of Jammu and Kashmir . The Leh-based ‘Siachen Pioneers’ received a message on the night of August 5 for the evacuation. Immediately, the commanding officer called in a briefing for the aircrew and supervised their planning for the safe conduct of the mission that stretched into the wee hours of the morning. After which, the entire team took the much needed rest for a few hours, until the daybreak. The rescue team comprised of Squadron Leader S Agarwal, Flight Lieutenant Maneesh Singh and Flight Lieutenant C Shekhawat. They were led by Wing Commander D.C. Tiwari. The helicopters reached the site at the earliest and evacuated the two brothers.
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