In the second such incident since September,a Naval helicopter with three personnel onboard made an emergency landing on a sand dune near Dhanushkodi on Wednesday,about 20 km from Rameswaram,after its engine developed snag.
The INS 481 helicopter left the INS Parundu naval base at Uchipuli near here at 6 AM and was returning around 8 AM when it developed snag and made the emergency landing at Arichalmunai,official sources said.
All three naval personnel,including two pilots,had a narrow escape as the chopper landed on a sand dune.
On September 17,another Naval helicopter also carrying three personnel made an emergency landing on grassland between Panaikulam and Chittarkottai,about 40 km from Ramanathapuram,the district headquarter town,after its engine developed a technical snag,officials said.
Then too,the three naval personnel had escaped as the pilot tactfully landed the chopper On the grassland.
Official sources said with Wednesday’s incident two of the three helicopters of INS Parundu,which handles patrolling of the sensitive Palk Strait and Gulf of Mannar area,were under repair.
Patrolling in the area has been intensified recently following an intelligence alert that terrorists could infiltrate into Rameswaram island from Sri Lanka.
Technical personnel from the naval base accompanied by Commanding Officer Sandeep Tandon were involved in the salvage operation at Arichalmunai.
They were battling to bring the helicopter to hard surface and mounting it on a trailer with the help of a crane which also got stuck in the sand.
It would take hours to bring the helicopter to the base for undertaking repair works,officials said.