Navy Says Low-Flying Helicopter at Talawe Wetlands Was Part of a Routine Mission

Navy Says Low-Flying Helicopter at Talawe Wetlands Was Part of a Routine Mission

Residents of Navi Mumbai were in for quite a surprise on Wednesday when they discovered a low-flying military aircraft around the Talawe wetlands where flamingos have migrated in large numbers this year. 

Subsequently, the Indian Navy confirmed that this was a routine operation to gauge the population of flamingos and waders as they can also be flight hazards on some occasions. Navy officials added that the region also happens to fall under the ”Local Flying Area” (LFA) of Colaba’s INS Shikra.

Reports estimate that over 1.5 lakh flamingos have migrated to the Mumbai region this year alone, while the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has expected a 25% increase in their population as compared to last year. The fact that there are lesser people plying on the wetlands for fishing has made the wetlands a safe ecosystem for flamingos and other wildlife.

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Commander Mehul Karnik, spokesperson for the Indian Navy said, “INS Shikra’s flight safety officer, skilled in bird migratory studies in LFA, was present for the sortie. For any defense station, it is essential to know the presence of migratory birds for flight safety. A large migratory bird congregation at this zone shows risk in helicopter movement and needs to be avoided. This is a safety requirement and there is no mischief.” 

“Such surveys are usually conducted using unmanned aerial vehicles in large military airfields but in this region Chetak helicopters have to be deployed,” he added.

An eyewitness from the 17th floor of a nearby apartment said that the helicopter was flying as low as the 14th floor of the building, leading to some amount of concern. However, the subsequent explanation provided by the Navy seems to have quelled all fears of the Navi Mumbai residents.

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