Four soldiers of the Royal Bhutan Army lost their lives during a brave rescue operation to save the lives of people caught in the flash floods in Gelephu yesterday.
His Majesty The King travelled to Gelephu on Tuesday, accompanied by the Prime Minister and Chief Operations Officer of the RBA, as the rescue operations were being completed.
A team of five soldiers braved the waters of the Mao Chhu to rescue people at the Mao Chhu Water Treatment Plant last evening at around 8:30 pm.
The people were in imminent danger of being washed away by flash floods as the river swelled due to two days of incessant rain. The team rescued five of the people who were stranded, but four soldiers, Peljab Ugyen, Gopa Pema Wangdi, Chuma Dup Tshering, and Chuma Tandin Dorji lost their own lives in the process. Chuma Kinzang Dorji is the only member of the team that survived.
The deceased soldiers have been posthumously awarded the Drakpai Khorlo medal for their extraordinary courage and their supreme sacrifice in the line of duty. His Majesty Commanded that their families would continue to receive salaries, allowances, and all benefits that the soldiers would have received during their service and in their retirement.
The rescue operations were conducted at 4 different locations along the river. Soldiers, helped by DeSuups, Dzongkhag officials, excavator operators, and others, saved the lives of 21 other people, including 4 forest officers on patrol duty at border entry points at 2:30 am last night, 16 workers including two women and a child at the Mao Chhu worksite and crushing unit at 9:45 am, and the caretaker of the water treatment plant at 11:20 am this morning. All the people caught in flood have been rescued. The flash flood has affected over a 5 km area around the banks of Mao Chhu.
His Majesty The King commended the dzongda, RBA officers and personnel, DeSuups, and others who were involved in the rescue operation, in particular the excavator operators, who took on a great risk to reach the stranded people, and thanked them for their heroic services.