Jammu: The search and rescue operations for the second pilot and the helicopter that had crashed into Ranjit Sagar Dam on August 3 are being “spearheaded by a Commodore rank officer along with the Indian Army Brigadier on a war footing”.
The Indian Army said that this was a search operation that was “going on in a full swing”. The search operation entered its 21st day.
Empathising with the grief of the relatives of the crew of the ill-fated helicopter, the Army, in its official statement reiterated its “commitment for retrieving” the mortal remains of the second pilot as well.
The body of one of the missing pilots Lt Col Abheet Singh Baath was retrieved on August 15 from a depth of 75.9 metres from the dam, a day after the Army claimed to have engaged a submarine rescue unit of the Indian Navy.
PRO Defence Lt Col Devender Anand said, “Special Forces’ Commandos along with Marcos of Indian Navy are carrying out continuous diving in the areas being identified through the technical means. To facilitate it, the Army also created a large floating platform from where all diving operations along with the launch of specialist equipment were being executed.”
On August 10, the Army had issued a statement maintaining that international assistance was also being sought for the challenging deep underwater operation. However, on Monday, the Army in its official statement said that the defence forces were “employing best of the equipment available in the country”.
“The search and rescue operations for the pilot and ALH WSI MK II Rudra, which had crashed into Ranjit Sagar Dam on 3rd August 2021 are going on at full swing. The defence forces are employing best of the equipment available in the country to locate the wreckage, which include remotely operated underwater vehicles, handheld navigation system with sonar, side scanner sonar with Echo Sensor and Portable Transducer, divers propulsion vehicle, multi-beam sonar and submarine rescue unit of the Indian Navy,” Lt Col Anand said.
Various agencies like NDRF, civilian experts and dam authorities were also incorporated in the search operations.
He said that the Indian Navy had been constantly upscaling and upgrading the equipment being used for this search and salvage operation.
“The search operations are being spearheaded by a Commodore rank officer who is expert in naval rescue operations along with the Indian Army Brigadier having expertise in civil engineering aspects. In addition, search operations are being monitored round-the-clock by GOC Gurj Division and GOC Rising Star Corps, making regular visits to the crash site. The search and rescue operations continue to be executed on a war footing,” Lt Col Anand said.