When jawans went weak in the knees seeing the scale of the tragedy during the flash-floods that devastated 1,600 villages in Uttrakhand this June,it was an anonymous 16-year-old volunteer from Gujarat helped Indian Air Force (IAF) rescue a Gujarati couple who were stranded on a cliff in the Kedarnath valley.
During the rescue operations,one of the IAF helicopter pilots noticed a Gujarati couple stranded on one of the cliffs near Rambara. They were surrounded by 15-20 bodies that were clung on to tree tops and rocks. The pilot tried to rescue them by lowering a winch from the helicopter. But the couple were so weak that they could not help themselves cling to the winch that would have lifted them into the helicopter, said Air Commodore Rajesh Isser,the head of Operation Rahat,the rescue operation where IAF airlifted about 25,000 people stranded in the floods.
While delivering a lecture during an ongoing annual business summit – Confluence 2013 – at Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A),Isser narrated to a hall full of B-school students about how the IAF pilot flew back to a nearby base that had a number of NDRF and other rescue personnel and asked for any volunteers who would risk coming with him to rescue the couple.
The task involved,the volunteer to allow himself to be lowered on to the cliff where he would rescue the couple one-by-one and wait on the cliff till the helicopter came back after dropping the couple, he said.
When no one volunteered. It was a 16-year-old volunteer from Gujarat who came forward to assist the couple, Isser said while narrating tales of resilience and courage that IAF men encountered while conducting rescue operations in the valley. Unfortunately,we did not get his name. We did try to find out,but we were not able to in commotion, he added.