SINGAPORE - A Republic of Singapore Air Force (RASF) C-130 pilot has given a first-hand account of his mission to and from Nepal, which included bringing home Singaporeans who were stranded there.
Seventy-four Singaporeans and permanent residents landed at Paya Lebar Air Base at 12.30am on Wednesday after spending a day or more at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport.
The three C-130 planes Singapore dispatched to help with quake relief in Nepal were diverted to India on Monday as the airport was too congested. All three planes landed in Kathmandu on Tuesday.
Major Sean Yang flew the first C-130 into Nepal with Singapore's relief teams on board, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in a post on Facebook on Wednesday evening.
When Dr Ng thanked him, he said: "No problem, Sir. We were just doing our job, all of us were."
Dr Ng also posted a short audio interview with the pilot, in which Major Yang related how the Nepali airport authorities had refused to let anyone land on Monday because the airport was full. His plane was eventually diverted to the Indian city of Patna.
The landing on Tuesday was challenging because Kathmandu's airport is located in a deep valley, he explained.
Major Yang added that there was a lot of turbulence even as they were leaving Kathmandu, but his passengers were in good spirits and were "all smiles".