Nine Odia workers stranded in Telangana floods rescued

Hyderabad: The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Sunday rescued 24 construction workers, nine of them from Odisha, who were stranded by floods in Telangana’s Medak district since Saturday, officials said.

The rescue operation, which was aborted Saturday evening due to heavy rains, resumed on Sunday morning and lasted for more than an hour.

Two Chetak helicopters pressed into service airlifted the migrant labourers stranded on an island in Manjeera river at Yedupayala, officials said.

While the state government put the number of rescued workers at 24, IAF put the figure at 23.

“The operation lasted for more than an hour wherein the Indian Air Force successfully airlifted 23 construction workers trapped on an island amidst strong currents and moved them to safer places. The helicopters landed back at 0851 (08.51 a.m.) after successful completion of the rescue despite inclement weather in the area,” said an IAF statement.

The operation was undertaken from Air Force Station Hakimpet here and was coordinated by Wing Commander P. Surendran, the Chief Operations Officer at Air Force Station Begumpet.

The migrant labourers from Madhya Pradesh and Odisha were engaged in construction of three bridges in the area.

Telangana assembly’s Deputy Speaker Padma Devender Reddy and Medak District Collector D. Ronald Ross had sought help from the IAF after the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team informed them that it cannot undertake rescue operation with boat due to boulders in the river bed.

The air force had been standing by for last two days and on Saturday two attempts were made at rescuing the marooned workers, which did not fructify due to heavy rain and low clouds, the IAF said.

“However, with the persistent efforts of IAF, the mission was successfully accomplished today. IAF is further standby to undertake rescue operations in view of forecast of more rain in the next couple of days,” it said.

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao expressed happiness over the workers being evacuated to safety.