Friday, 12 January 2018 | PNS | New Delhi-
Three paratroopers have been injured while practising slithering operations from a rope hanging from a Dhruv advanced light helicopter (ALH) here. The soldiers, who fell down on ground from a height of nearly 30 feet when the boom (pulley) supporting the rope reportedly gave away at the Army Parade Ground in Delhi Cantonment on Tuesday, are reported to be stable.
Following the incident, the Army has temporarily suspended all such slithering operations. And a probe is on to find out the cause of malfunction in the drill — part of combat demonstration to be held on the Army Day on January 15 — officials said here on Thursday.
Slithering involves soldiers coming down from a hovering helicopter through a rope.
The “insertion” and “extraction” of commandos is generally carried out by the helicopters in special operations. The objective is to carry out the raids on enemy targets in the shortest possible time and then return to safe bases in the helicopters.
The drill is practised relentlessly as stealth and speed is of paramount importance to retain the element of surprise. If detected by the enemy, the helicopters with soldiers dangling from the rope, are an easy target and the effort always is to avoid such situations, sources said.
A Dhruv twin-engine helicopter flew the soldiers to the designated ‘drop’ zone and as three soldiers slithered down the rope dangling from the helicopter the boom supporting the rope reportedly developed snag. It led to the rope breaking away and the paratroopers fell on each other before crashing down on the ground. The troops stationed near the ‘drop’ zone rushed to the spot and ferried the injured to the hospital, officials said.
Following the incident, the Army suspended slithering operations involving Dhruv helicopters till a probe was completed, the sources said. This helicopter is an indigenously developed and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The Army has more than 100 Dhruv helicopters deployed in all the operational areas including the heights of Jammu & Kashmir and the North-East.
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