Search for missing pilots intensified: Army

‘Submarine rescue unit flown in’
Search for missing pilots intensified: Army
Rescuers search for two pilots on August 4 whose helicopter crashed into the Ranjit Sagar dam in J&K's Kathua district the preceding day. File/ANI

Jammu: Army on Saturday said that it had flown in the submarine rescue unit of Indian Navy to explore digitally-located wreckage at depth of approximately 80-100 meters and to intensify the search operation for the two missing pilots and helicopter that crashed in Ranjit Sagar Dam on August 3.

PRO Defence Lt Col Devender Anand said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) lifted the heavy equipment from Visakhapatnam to Pathankot to speed up the underwater search.

“Indian Army and all other agencies to include Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, NDRF, Ranjit Sagar Dam authorities, district authorities including the locals are sparing no efforts for bringing the operations to a final conclusion,” Lt Col Anand said in an official statement.

On August 10, the Army had said that international assistance was also being sought for the challenging deep underwater operation to search for the two missing pilots of the helicopter which crashed and sank into the Ranjit Sagar Dam in Kathua on August 3.

It had said that the experts, specialised equipment and divers were being continuously flown in.

The Army had said that this deep underwater operation was especially challenging due to the near zero visibility below 50 meters owing to the colloidal nature of water in this season which adversely impacted accuracy of sonars and other sensors.

The Army statement came after the brother of the missing co-pilot shared his anguish on Twitter over the slow-pace of the rescue operation.

On August 3, the Army Aviation Corps’ Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) with a pilot and a co-pilot on board crashed into Ranjit Sagar Dam, minutes after taking off from Mamun Military Station near Pathankot for a routine sortie.

The dam, located in Kathua district of Jammu region, is 25-km long, 8-km wide and more than 500-feet deep.

The Army had said that multibeam sonars, side scanners, remotely-operated vehicles and underwater manipulators were also flown in from Chandigarh, Delhi, Mumbai and Kochi and pressed into action at the crash site of the dam.

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