Jammu, Aug 12: Rescuers continued operation for the tenth day on Thursday to trace pilot and co-pilot of a helicopter of Indian Army’s aviation corps which crashed near Ranjit Sagar Dam in the Basohli area of Kathua on August 3, officials said.
Wreckage of the helicopter including its cabin was found on Wednesday last but there are no signs of the remains of the two pilots, they said.
Army in a statement issued on August 10 said the military authorities were “leaving no stone unturned” to search the helicopter and two pilots onboard it. Army also said that international assistance is also being sought.
“Military authorities are leaving no stone unturned to search for the helicopter which crashed and sank into the Ranjit Sagar Dam along with two pilots,” Defence ministry’s Jammu-based spokesman Lt Col Devender Anand said in the first formal statement to GNS.
He said the expanse of dam is 25km long, 8km wide and more than 500 feet deep.
“Indian Army is coordinating the efforts of Indian Navy deep divers team consisting of two Officers, four JCOs and 24 Other Ranks, Indian Army Special Forces divers team consisting of two Officers, one JCO and 24 Other Ranks, multi beam sonars, side scanners, remotely operated vehicles and underwater manipulators which have been flown in from Chandigarh, Delhi, Mumbai and Kochi and pressed into action at crash site of dam. “
He said search operation continue unabated inspite of bad weather and rain. “Expertise and equipment of Army, Navy, IAF, NDRF, SDRF, NGOs, State Police, Dam Authority and private firms from all over the country have also been into action,” he said in the statement issued to GNS. “This deep underwater operation is especially challenging due to the near zero visibility below 50 meters owing to the colloidal nature of water in this season which adversely impacts accuracy of sonars and other sensors,” he said.
He said no efforts are being spared for early conclusion of the search operation. “A small area of 60m by 60m has been localized and special sonar equipment flown in from Kochi is being employed to enable the search operations to enter their final phase.”