Chennai, Feb 9 (IANS) The drones of Chennai-based Garuda Aerospace played a significant supporting role in the rescue of the trekker who got trapped in a crevice of the Koormbachi hillock in Kerala’s Palakkad, said a top company official.
“On Tuesday night, at about 11 p.m., we received a call from an Army officer and the Kerala government wanting a rescue drone team to support the Army and the NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) in their effort to save the trekker who got trapped in a mountain crevice in Palakkad,” Founder and CEO Agnishwar Jayaprakash told IANS.
While there were no flights at that time, Garuda Aerospace’s two member team drove down to the location through the night armed with the permission from the authorities, Jayaprakash added.
According to him, the initial plan was to deploy a stringing drone – a drone that carries cable – which can deliver the chord to the trapped trekker Babu. He could then hook it onto the rope, and pass on a harness so that he could be lifted up with the help of a crane.
However, later, the plan changed.
“The army/NDRF officials decided to drop down the ropes and we were asked to provide drop direction guidance using our drone. We flew our drone which gave the video feed as to the location of the rope and the trekker. We told the rescue team to drop the rope to the right or left so that it can reach the trekker,” R. Karthikeyan, drone pilot, Garuda Aerospace told IANS from Palakkad.
He said the rescue official climbed down the mountain with the help of the rope and gave the trekker a bottle of water and took him up.
“Earlier, our drone carried water bottles from the ground to the rescue team at the mountain top,” Karthikeyan added.
Garuda stringing drones were also deployed in the Chamoli Glacier disaster in Uttarakhand and supported NDRF officials to reestablish communications, Jayaprakash said.
According to him, Karthikeyan was also the drone pilot in Uttarakhand.
The Garuda stringing drone has been used extensively for wire stringing operations and connecting long high tension wires for clients such as L&T and the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.
The stringing drone is also capable of carrying upto 15 kg of weight which can also be used to provide food, water and Aessential supplies.