Army chopper crashes in Ranjit Sagar dam, massive search for missing pilots

An army officer said that a pilot and co-pilot were flying the chopper when it went down into the dam all of a sudden during a routine sortie.

An army helicopter crashed into the Ranjit Sagar Dam lake in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua on Tuesday morning followed by a massive search operation to trace the missing pilots, a senior police officer said. The dam is located about 30 km from Pathankot.

Kathua’s senior superintendent of police (SSP) Ramesh Kotwal said as per local residents, the crash took place around 10.43 am when the advanced light Dhruv helicopter was on a routine sortie after taking off from Mamun cantonment.Kathua.

“We have pressed into service divers and motorboats but there is no clue so far,” Kotwal said. In the evening a heavy lift chopper, Chinook was also pressed into search and rescue operation. The SSP pointed out that the depth of the lake was between 200 to 250 feet in the area of the crash and while the rescue team including specialised forces had recovered some floating objects from the lake, retrieving the wreckage will take time.

“Deep water divers are at the job, but the operation will take time. We have also retrieved two helmets, which are most likely of the two pilots, who were flying the helicopter,” Kotwal said, adding that the water was not clear.

Army ambulances, two helicopters, senior army officers and civil administration officials were also on the spot.

An army officer said that a pilot and co-pilot were flying the chopper when it went down into the dam all of a sudden. The chopper belonged to the 254 Army Aviation Squadron.

“Searches are on to trace and rescue the two pilots but chances of their survival look very grim,” he added.

Source: Hindustan Times

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