In a unique case, the Indian Air Force’s helicopter unit Siachen Pioneers successfully evacuated a three-month pregnant woman from a remote village in Shinkun-la in Ladakh on Saturday. Thirty-five-year-old Stanzin Laton, a resident of Kurgiak village suffered from eyesight loss and dysphagia, a condition which causes difficulty in swallowing.

As the Air Force officials heard about Laton’s deteriorating health, they organised a vacating mission immediately. The temperature of the valley and especially the cloud base in Kurgiak is going low. It sometimes drops even below zero degree, stated a release from the Indian Air Force. This made it difficult for the woman to survive in such a cold place.

The flight back was even more challenging with the aircraft buffeting in turbulent winds and light fading further.

The state is currently experiencing an intense spell of cold wave. It also received snowfall in the last few days.

Wing Commander S.I. Khan and Flight Lieutenant Pravin in the lead aircraft, along with Wing Commander S.K. Pradhan and Squadron Leader A. Bedekar as No 2 assessed the weather condition.

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“The weather enroute was marginal and the narrow and turbulent valley, devoid of any force landing fields made the task even more challenging. However, the crew successfully negotiated the valley and reached Padam. And after a quick turnaround servicing the formation got airborne again for Kurgiak which was another 50kms ahead of Padam,” wrote the Indian Air Force in a Facebook post.

The crew chose a site close to the village which was sloping but manageable, and picked up the woman. Due to high altitude, lack of oxygen coupled with extremely low temperatures, the lady was having difficulty in breathing.

“The flight back was even more challenging with the aircraft buffeting in turbulent winds and light fading further. The crew brought all their professionalism to the forefront to successfully negotiate the adverse weather and recovered back at Leh in time, to save the life of the lady and the child in her womb,” the post stated.


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