IAF Cheetah
Indian Air Force's Cheetah helicopter (representational image)IAF website

As many as 22 European trekkers -- mostly from the United Kingdom, stranded in high altitude areas of Jammu and Kashmir's Ladakh region -- were rescued by the Indian Air Force (IAF) officers in last two days, media reports said on Saturday.

According to PTI, 21 of the rescued trekkers were British nationals, while another person to be rescued was an injured French woman. They were stranded in Ladakh following heavy downpour.

"Braving adverse weather, IAF helicopters from Leh rescued 21 British Nationals and 1 French national on August 6 and 7 in a challenging casualty evacuation from high altitude in Ladakh," PTI quoted defence spokesman at Army's Northern Command Col SD Goswami as saying.

All big rivers passing through the region, including the Indus and the Nubra, and their tributaries have been flowing above the danger mark following continuous downpour for five days. It has badly affected road and telephone communications in the region.

Col Goswami said that the Air Force Station in Leh received an SOS message to rescue a group of British tourists who were stranded in Markha Valley with some. The IAF pressed into service its helicopter unit "Siachen Pioneers" after receiving the SOS.

IAF officers -- Wing Commanders BS Sehrawat and KS Negi, Squadron Leader V Chauhan and Flight Lieutenant Cirag -- took off in two choppers on the rescue mission and spotted the first lot of stranded trekkers close to Thinlespa village on the bank of a rivulet. After saving them, the other trekkers were also rescued.