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IAF pilots carry out dare-devil night mission to fly out 121 Indians from Sudan

The IAF used a C130J Hercules in a dare-devil night operation to rescue Indians from Sudan (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@SpokespersonMoD)

In a dare-devil night operation, Indian Air Force pilots landed a C130J Hercules transport aircraft on a small airstrip in the darkness to rescue 121 Indians amid continuing fighting among warring factions in Sudan.

The Air Force pilots used Night Vision Goggles (NVGs) to carry out the landing on Thursday night as the airstrip was in a degraded condition with no navigational approach aids or landing lights that are needed to guide an aircraft to land at night.

While approaching the airstrip, the aircrew used their Electro-Optical/Infra-Red sensors to ensure that there was no obstruction on the small runway, which is about 40 Km north of Khartoum, the epicentre of the fighting in Sudan. After ensuring the runway is clear, the daring pilots carried out a tactical approach. Upon landing, the aircraft engines were kept running.

The C-130J landed on an airstrip in Wadi Sayyidna  to rescue the Indian nationals who had no means to reach Port Of Sudan.

Eight Garuda commandos from Air Force’s special forces unit secured the passengers and ensured the safe boarding of luggage in the aircraft.

The two and a half hour operation between Wadi Sayyidna and Jeddah is similar to the one carried out earlier in Kabul.

The convoy that brought the Indian nationals  to the airstrip was led by the Indian defence attache posted in the country’s embassy in Khartoum.

Meanwhile, another 754 Indians have been brought back home under ‘Operation Kaveri’ from Sudan. While 392 people were flown to Delhi in the C-17 transport aircraft by the air force, the remaining 362 Indians were brought to Bengaluru.

A total of 1,360 Indians have now been brought back since the rescue operation began.