Srinagar: The Indian Air Force (IAF) have rescued as many as 538 people, including 319 GATE aspirants after they got stuck in the twin capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar due to the closure of Jammu-Srinagar national highway which was prompted by heavy snowfall in the area. 

Jammu-Srinagar national highway is the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country. 

Here is all you need to know about the rescue operation

  • The IAF launched the special sorties of C17 Globemaster and came into the assistance of Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE)  aspirants, the locals and tourists who were stuck there. 
  • A defence spokesman said that a total of 319 students appearing in the GATE exams on February 10 onwards were rescued. 
  • The rescue operations contrived over a span of two days: Friday and Saturday. The victims were airlifted from Srinagar airport to Jammu airport. 
  • While 179 students were airlifted from Srinagar to Jammu, 180 civilians struck in Jammu were airlifted to Srinagar on Friday, the spokesman said.
  • The official also said that 179 persons comprising of 140 students and 39 locals and tourists were airlifted to Srinagar to Jammu on Saturday.
  • "The students were specially relieved by this humanitarian concern of the armed forces and conveyed their special thanks to them for this timely effort which in long way will shape up their career in times to come," the spokesman said.
  • He said civilians and stranded tourists were also very appreciative and thankful of the humanitarian activities of the armed forces along with guarding the frontiers at all times.

However, this is not the first time that IAF has carried out a remarkable rescue operation. 

In September 2018, the IAF assisted in the rescue mission of at least 300 people stranded in various parts of Himachal Pradesh's Lahaul and Spiti due to heavy snowfall. 

The IAF also extended the much-needed support during the Kerala blood rescue operations, which devastated the south Indian state in August 2018.