Govt of Tamil Nadu approached IAF to rescue 04 civilians stranded on trees during a flash flood in the middle of river Cauvery close to Hogenakkal waterfalls. The civilians had been stranded post noon hours on 04 Aug 12. Two ALH of 151 HU located at AF Stn Sulur were tasked to undertake the rescue mission with 02 Garud commandos carrying additional rescue equipment onboard each helicopter. Weather was conductive for the operation however, strong river currents, dense foliage and intense bird activity were main impediments.
Survivors were finally spotted in the midst of a cluster of trees and the lead aircraft set up a hover OGE clear of the tree canopy for winching up the survivors. The second helicopter hovered nearby providing a continuous commentary on both clearance from trees as well as on the extensive bird activity in close proximity. Under guidance of the Flight Gunner, the captain maintained steady hover over the rescue spot and the onboard Garud commando was winched down. With great difficulty, the commando managed to locate the survivor, secured him with the additional safety harness and having held him tightly, both were winched up onboard. 02 survivors were rescued during the initial operation. Both aircraft then got airborne again to locate the fourth survivor who was stranded at a different location. The foliage there was extremely dense and there being no indications from the survivors on ground, an prolonged hover was required to spot the survivor. He was subsequently winched up by the crew with help from the Garud commando and taken ashore to safety.