August 7, 2021 9:34:52 am
The search operation for the crew of an Army helicopter which crashed into the reservoir of the Ranjit Sagar Dam, on the border of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, has been ramped up with an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) having been inducted to help locate the wreckage.
The Army Aviation helicopter of a Pathankot-based squadron, with weapon systems integrated, had crashed into the reservoir Tuesday and there has been no official word on the fate of the crew who are now presumed to be dead. The search operations for the two pilots and passengers, if any, have not yielded much other than some scattered wreckage floating in the water along with helmets, a boot and two rucksacks.
Army sources have informed that a Command Clearance Diving Team of Indian Navy from Mumbai has arrived in Pathankot and is camping at the shores of the reservoir equipped with hand held navigation systems with built in SONAR. The team also has diver’s propulsion vehicle and salvage bags.
An NDRF team from Bathinda had already been operational at the crash site with side scanner SONAR and now technicians of a private company, PAN India Pvt Ltd, with under water Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) have also been inducted.
An officer informed that the side scanner SONAR has been extensively used to scan a wide area of the crash site. “Hand held navigation system has also been extensively used to localise the area and narrow down the scope of the search,” the officer said.
However, despite all the efforts, no major headway was been made. The crew of the helicopter comprised a Lt Colonel and a Captain. The names of the two have not yet been officially released by the Army. There is also no information that has been given out on the number of passengers, if any, in the helicopter.
The Army Aviation Squadron had another scare Thursday when another ALH helicopter force landed in a field on the Punjab and Himachal Pradesh border. The Tuesday crash of the ALH was the second fatal crash to have taken place in the same unit in past few months. Earlier, in January, a similar helicopter had crashed at the Basohli military station on the Pathankot-Jammu road axis killing one pilot and injuring another who later succumbed to his injuries.
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