On the night of 05 February 2017, a head-on collision between a pickup van and a tractor near Ambikapur in the naxal affected Surguja district in Chhattisgarh left five passengers dead and others critically injured. Around midnight, IG Sarguja approached Task Force Commander of IAF’s Anti Naxal Task Force (ANTF) based at Raipur, to airlift the casualties which was approved by HQ, Central Air Command.
In the meantime, the pilots and ground staff of the Task Force had swung into action to get the Raipur civil airfield opened. One Mi-17V5 helicopter was readied, while another helicopter was kept on standby. Flying under the cover of darkness using the Night Vision Goggles (NVG) the pilots landed at Ambikapur. In view of the naxal threat, the state police provided the necessary sanitization and security cover around the landing area. Two critically injured passengers, one a child of about 13 years, and a lady along with a team of local doctor were taken on board and evacuated to Raipur before sunrise on 06 February, where they were promptly put into ambulances for civil hospital.