The Indian Air Force mounted a major relief and rescue operation in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka evacuating 44 people and dropping 750 kg of relief material, mainly food packets, in the flood-hit areas.

Following requests from the respective State governments, the IAF swung into action and the first helicopter with special equipment began winching up survivors from early Friday morning in Karnataka.

An IAF spokesperson said here that by the afternoon, six helicopters from Yelahanka air station flew 12 sorties, dropping food packets and saving lives. The IAF personnel came as a hope to the victims including women and children perched atop trees, temples, poles and the roofs of their houses and hutments.

The IAF evacuated 12 people caught in neck-deep waters in the low-lying areas of Bellary district and evacuated them to safe places while 32 lives were saved from Mantralayam in Raichur district.

The helicopter hovered close to the rooftops as IAF personnel pulled them up one by one. Air Commodore V.S. Bharti, the Air Officer Commanding at Yelahanka, who oversaw the rescue operations said they were affected by intermittent rains and thunderstorms .

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