Mumbai: Armed forces, Coast Guard join rescue operation with helicopters, rubber boats

The Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and the Coast Guard have joined rescue efforts in Maharashtra with disaster relief teams, helicopters, and rubber boats. The Western Naval Command in Mumbai has also mobilised flood rescue teams and helicopters based on a request received from the state government.

More than 73 people have died in Maharashtra since Thursday evening as “unprecedented” rainfall caused landslides and house collapses. Over 7,000 people have been rescued from Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur districts.

A Seaking 42C Helicopter from INS Shikra, the helibase of the Western Naval Command, was deployed for rescue at Poladpur and Raigad early Friday, a defence spokesperson said.

Seven naval rescue teams, meanwhile, had departed by road for deployment in Ratnagiri and Raigad districts Thursday from Mumbai. The naval flood rescue teams are equipped with Gemini rubber boats, loud hailers, first aid kits, life jackets and lifebuoys. The teams include specialist navy divers and diving equipment.

The IAF has also sent a Mi-17 I V helicopter from Mumbai for a rescue operation at Ratnagiri. The IAF is also positioning two Mi-17V5s and as many Mi-17s for flood relief operations. Another helicopter has been put on standby in Pune for any emergency requirement.

A total of 15 relief and rescue teams, comprising troops from Aundh Military Station and Pune-based Bombay Engineer Group, have also been deployed overnight in affected areas of Ratnagiri, Kolhapur and Sangli districts. These columns will be assisting the civil administration in evacuating people stranded in submerged areas till normalcy is restored, the defence spokesperson said.

The flood relief columns include engineering efforts and medical teams from the Army for providing necessary first aid and medicines to local residents being evacuated from flood-prone areas.

Besides Maharashtra, the Indian Coast Guard has also mobilised and dispatched seven disaster relief teams to Goa and Karnataka to rescue and relocate people to safe places.

In Maharashtra, the Coast Guard has deployed two teams, one each at Mahad and Chiplun. It has also pressed in a helicopter for rescue operations.

Officials said the teams are working with local administration and have rescued 52 people, so far, and shifted them to safe locations. The Coast Guard airbase at Ratnagiri is also being used by the Indian Navy and IAF aircraft for rescue operations in the state.

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