Security forces rescue 19 stranded people in J&K as rivers, streams surge

Security forces Thursday acted swiftly to save 19 stranded people from drowning in different water bodies in Kathua and Poonch districts of Jammu region where major rivers and streams are in spate due to incessant rains over the past three days, officials said.

They people were saved from three different marooned locations – seven of them from near Dhaloti in Kathua district, eight stranded due to a swollen stream in Gursai area of Poonch district, and four trapped on an island at Khanetar-Salotri area, also in Poonch.

All major rivers and streams are in spate across Jammu region following incessant rains since Tuesday.

The India Air Force rescued seven villagers stranded on an island created by an overflowing Ujh river near Dhaloti in Kathua district this evening, Jammu-based Army PRO Lt Col Devender Anand said.

Following receipt of a message that the seven civilians were trapped, he said an Indian Air Force helicopter of MI-17 Helicopter unit at Jammu was immediately pressed into service to rescue them.

“The helicopter, captained by Wing Commander Mukul Khare and squadron leader Vinay Padaki, reached over the rescue spot around 5.15 pm. The crew quickly selected an appropriate spot to position the helicopter,” Lt Col Anand said.

Two Garud Special Forces commandos then lowered onto the island and reached the stranded people and guided them to reach the helicopter.

He said the seven — including three women and as many children — were taken to the nearest landing ground at a village next to the banks of Ujh river.

“The IAF responded swiftly and rescued the individual before the water level could rise to dangerous levels during the night. The mission was closely coordinated by Chief of Operations at Jammu Air Base group Captain Sandeep Singh,” the spokesperson said.

On Wednesday evening, the IAF had rescued a civilian trapped in a river in Naushera area of Rajouri district.

Earlier during the day on Thursday, officials said the police, assisted by State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel, rescued eight people including a woman who were trapped due to a swollen stream in Gursai area of Poonch district.

Four more people were also found trapped on a marooned island at Khanetar-Salotri area of Poonch district and were rescued by a joint team of police and SDRF, the officials said.