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HAL helicopters in rescue operations at Mauritius Reef

The ship was on its way from China to Brazil but ran aground on the reef at Pointe dEsny, Mauritius recently.

Bengaluru: State-run aerospace behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) on Tuesday said its indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv and Chetak helicopters are being deployed for rescue and oil-spill clean-up operations at Mauritius Reef.

They have been pressed into service to rescue people and extricate skimmed oil from the Japanese owned cargo ship MV Wakashio, HAL said in a release.

The ship was on its way from China to Brazil but ran aground on the reef at Pointe dEsny, Mauritius recently.

Thanks to the Indian Air Force, Indian Coast Guards and Mauritius police, the helicopters flew non-stop dawn to dusk till all the survivors on board were safely rescued, HAL said.

A total of 210 cargo operations and 270 winch operations were undertaken by HAL choppers towards salvage and rescue missions so far.

The Chetak helicopters were used primarily for winching survivors, it said.

The ALHs flew continuous missions to get the international salvage team on-board the ship to contain the spill, the release said adding the HAL made helicopters have flown till now 110 hrs and rescued 600 people from and to MV Wakasio.

“Time and again the indigenous Dhruv helicopter has proven its capabilities.

Our helicopters were extensively utilized for search and rescue operations in the past as well,” HAL CMD R Madhavan said.

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