Army chopper crash rescue ops: Experts flown in, international assistance sought
Experts, specialised equipment, and divers were being flown in and international assistance has also been sought for the deep underwater search operation for the chopper that crashed into Ranjit Sagar Dam in Jammu & Kashmir’s Kathua on August 3, the Army said on Tuesday.
In a statement, the Army said the operation remains challenging due to the near-zero visibility below 50 metres due to the colloidal nature of water in this season, which adversely impacts the accuracy of sonars and other sensors. It did not elaborate on the nature of the international assistance.
Two pilots of the Army Aviation Corps have been missing since the chopper crashed.
“Indian Army is coordinating the efforts of Indian Navy deep divers team consisting of two officers, four JCOs (junior commissioned officers) 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 the crash site of the dam,” said defence spokesperson Lt Col Devender Anand. He added the search operation continued despite bad weather and rain.
Anand said expertise and equipment of the army, navy, Indian Air Force, other agencies and private firms from all over the country have also been put into action. “A small area of 60m by 60m has been localised and special sonar equipment flown in from Kochi is being employed to enable the search operations to enter their final phase.”
The dam is 25 km long, 8 km wide and over 500 feet deep.