Kochi: The Southern Naval Command on Tuesday deployed a Seaking Mk. 42 C helicopter and two Chetak helicopters � one from the Navy and the other from the Coast Guard� with divers on board to carry out search and rescue operations at Thazhathangadi, near Kottayam, where a private bus fell into the Meenachal river.
The Seaking, launched at 3.50 p.m., less than half-an-hour after the Navy was called for help, carried five divers and an officer, Lieutenant Commander A.S. Patankar, on board. Although high-tension wires prevented its landing near the site of accident, the divers were airdropped. The chopper later landed at the Nehru Stadium from where their rescue gear was transported to the site by the police.
The naval Chetak, with two divers on board, was mainly used for coordination between the headquarters and the diving team. The Coast Guard chopper was despatched as stand-by. In the meantime, six divers led by Commander V.K. Chaudhary, left for the site by road at 4.20 p.m.