The wreckage of a private aircraft that had crashed near the holy Kedarnath shrine recently was transported out of the site by a team of two Mi-17 helicopters in challenging circumstances, IAF officials said on Sunday.
The aircraft of UT Air Pvt limited had crashed a few days ago at an altitude of 11,500 ft at the Kedarnath helipad, just short of the holy shrine, they said.
"It was not feasible to transport the wreckage to a lower region due to only-foot-track connectivity to Kedarnath. The company requested IAF, through Uttarakhand civil administration, to render assistance in the evacuation of their downed aircraft before the closure of Kedarnath shrine this month end," a senior IAF official said.
On Saturday, Mi-17 V5 helicopters of the Indian Air Force were tasked to undertake this challenging task.
"At dawn on Saturday, two helicopters were pressed into action, with one of them tasked to provide logistical support and the other for extricating the downed civilian aircraft by carrying it underslung," he said.
"The IAF crew displayed deft handling as the aircraft was hooked below the helicopter and then skilfully flown back through the narrow valley, all the way to Sahastradhara near Dehradun," the official said.
The safe evacuation is testimony to the responsiveness of the IAF in support of the civilian administration and the skill of IAF aircrew, he said.