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Chopper crash in Ranjit Sagar Dam: Parents suffering emotionally as ops to recover remains crawl, says co-pilot’s brother

The Army Aviation Corps Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), which took off from Mamun military station near Pathankot, and crashed into the lake Tuesday morning during a routine sortie.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh |
Updated: August 10, 2021 10:51:40 am
The search and rescue teams of the Army, National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and the Navy have only been able to salvage some pieces of wreckage of the helicopter till now. (File)

The younger brother of one of the pilots of the ill-fated Army helicopter, which crashed into the Ranjit Sagar Dam reservoir on August 2, Monday expressed expressed anguish at the slow pace of search and recovery operations for the wreckage and the remains of the two pilots.

The Army Aviation Corps Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), which took off from Mamun military station near Pathankot, and crashed into the lake Tuesday morning during a routine sortie. The search and rescue teams of the Army, National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and the Navy have only been able to salvage some pieces of wreckage of the helicopter till now.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Neel Joshi, brother of Captain Jayant Joshi, the co-pilot of the helicopter, said that he and his parents have been camping at Mamun military station for the past several days. “My parents are suffering emotionally because of the slow pace of the recovery operations. I keep calling the team members involved in the operation every couple of hours. I am very worried for the health of my parents who are under tremendous pressure and strain,” said Neel Joshi.

He, however, added that the officers of “my brother’s squadron have been very helpful” and “they have been doing everything they can to help us” but the salvage operations are moving at a snail’s pace. “It is literally a torture for us and the family of the other pilot who is also camping at the military station,” he added.

Neel Joshi also said that his family learnt about the crash from social media posts and was not informed about it through official channels. “My mother, who is a Colonel in the Military Nursing Service (MNS), started calling up people in the Army after learning of the news from social media,” Neel Joshi said.
The names of the pilot and co-pilot have not yet been officially released by the Army. There is also no information on passengers, if any, in the helicopter.

Neel Joshi said that that though the locating beacon from the crashed helicopter had been zeroed on Thursday, but there had not been any tangible progress ever since.

Earlier, he had taken to Twitter to highlight the emotional stress for his family due to the time being taken to find the wreckage and remains of the crew. In a series of tweets, he complained about the apathy that the family is facing due to the delay.

“My brother Capt Jayant Joshi’s hepter crashed in Ranjit Sagar Dam on Tuesday 2nd August. Almost one week later he has not been recovered. I wish I could explain the agony of my parents. Operations to extract the wreckage are ongoing at a snail’s pace with no end in sight,” he tweeted.

In another tweet, he highlighted the fact if the remains of the pilots are in the wreckage then their condition will be very bad after one week in the water. “We have lost all hope at this point. The anticipation, the wait and day after day of futile search by the Navy and the Army is a torture for our mother who has to wait everyday to hear any news,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Army has informed that three additional diving teams of the Navy have been called from Kochi to speed up the search efforts. “An area of 25 squaremetres has been identified on the sound wave reflections from the wreckage of the helicopter. However the depth of the wreckage is still unknown,” said an officer.

The Army also said that the depth of the reservoir ranged from 80 to 100 metres and there is difficulty being caused to the search operations due to this. Earlier this week, a remotely operated vehicle had also been inducted into the reservoir to help locate the wreckage.

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