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The state of Jammu & Kashmir was battered by severe rains in the first week of September 2014. This resulted in floods of disastrous proportions in both Jammu & Kashmir regions. River waters crossed the danger levels.

In the Kashmir region, the raging waters of the swollen Jhelum inundated large surrounding tracts.On 4th September South Kashmir was affected. On the night of 6th September, the Jhelum breached its embankments and flooded most of urban Srinagar. This necessitated rescue and evacuation of hundreds of marooned people. Landslides and flooding damaged roads and bridges, power links were snapped and telecommunication facilities affected. The only railway link in Kashmir and all arterial road links were flood affected. The only means of disaster management was by air and promptly, the Chief Minister directed that both state helicopters be put to use optimally for combatting the situation.


The Agusta helicopter was put into action promptly. It was flown by Wing Commander Gautam Mamgain and Wing Commander Sanjay Agrawal. The helicopter flew a total of 169 sorties in various roles – all vital to management of the disaster situation.


Evacuation of stranded people. The sudden floods took Srinagar city by surprise. Affected areas extended outwards from the banks of the Jhelum. PanthaChowk, Indranagar, Shivpura, BadamiBagh, Sonwar, Rajbagh, Jawaharnagar, Tulsibagh, Bemina, Batmaloo, Residency Road, MA Road. The Bouleward along the Dal was also inundated. This left thousands of local residents, tourists, workers and government employees stranded. In a panic, they rushed towards the higher areas of Gupkar road and Rajbhawan. With road and railway links severed, the only way out of Srinagar was by air. The Agusta helicopter helped form an air bridge to evacuate stranded people from Nehru helipad and HariNiwas to the airport.

Stranded people waiting for evacuation at Nehru Helipad

Evacuation of Casualties  The helicopter flew several casualties to the airport and to SKIMS, Soura so as to facilitate emergency treatment.

Aerial reconnaissance. In the absence of road links, the Agusta helicopter was extensively used for aerial reconnaissance of areas affected by floods by the Chief Minister and his ministerial colleagues, state government officials, ministers of the Union Government and other disaster management experts. This helped in a first-hand assessment of the situation to plan necessary relief/ recovery action.

Communication  Senior state government officials were airlifted by the Agusta helicopter and placed at different district headquarters to manage the situation on a war footing.

Air Bridge. The Agusta helicopter helped form an air bridge for expeditious movement of the Chief Minister, his colleagues, state officials  between HariNiwas (the seat of government) and other locations which needed immediate relief and to have first hand assessment  for them to coordinate with the armed forces and other stake holders. HariNiwas also formed a control and coordination centre. This “Agusta” air bridge became the only means to communicate even for the purpose of sending urgent documents or correspondence including official mail and written orders.

Airlift of Relief Material  This VIP helicopter was also used to ferry relief material such as rations, medicine and water arriving at the airport in IAF aircraft from across the country.

The Agusta helicopter flew a total of 169 sorties airlifting 465 persons, ration, water and medicines.. It operated from the restricted grounds of HariNiwas. The flying environment was extremely dense with scores of helicopters busy in rescue and relief work. Flying under such conditions was a challenging task which required them to garner all their skill, judgement, airmanship, physical and mental faculties despite the homes of these state pilots at Indranagar and Rajbagh were fully submerged. Inspite of this, the state pilots persisted with their challenging task of aiding and assisting the state machinery in effective management of the disaster.