Jammu: Army on Friday located major parts of chopper underwater but the ‘black box’ and the pilots are still missing even after 72 hours of searches carried out by the Army and other agencies engaged in deep waters of Ranjit Sagar Dam in Basholi tehsil of Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir.
The search operation, police sources said, resumed in the morning, and was once again suspended as there was no clue about the missing pilots but the location where the major parts of the chopper had submerged, was found by the search teams.
Two pilots of the ALH Dhruv helicopter of the Indian Army went missing after their chopper crashed into Ranjit Sagar Dam on Tuesday morning.
“The location was searched by the teams but there is no trace of the missing pilot and the co-pilot of the helicopter,” they said.
Police said that the black box has also not yet been found, so ascertain the exact cause of the accident. However, the search operation was suspended and will resume again on Saturday.
The teams of Army, Navy, Air Force and Jammu and Kashmir Police are jointly conducting a search operation to trace the helicopter and the missing pilots.
“As per search teams, nothing is visible inside the lake under 150 feet deep water due to silt,” they said.
“Divers are also facing a lot of trouble. The dam administration has been requested to get high resolution cameras, which may help to expedite the search operation,” police sources added.
Ranjit Sagar Dam shares boundaries with Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district, Punjab’s Pathankot district and a portion of Himachal Pradesh.
“Though, the location has been identified and we are quite hopeful of recovering the ‘black box’ soon but the search for the missing pilots remains the challenge,” an official said.
As per reports, a nomad noticed the chopper crash but he did not see anybody coming out of the water, after which the search operation was launched, police asserted.
“There are no whereabouts about the missing pilots while searches were also carried out in the nearby forest area assuming that the pilots might have managed ejection from the copter sensing trouble but nothing was found,” they said.
The Army said that it was an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) that took off from the Army’s Aviation Squadron at Mamun Cantonment in Pathankot, Punjab.
The chopper has crashed into deep waters of the Ranjit Sagar Lake.
In January this year also, one pilot had died after an Indian Army helicopter crashed in Kathua district’s Lakhanpur near the Jammu and Kashmir-Punjab border.
The HAL Dhruv helicopter had crashed after developing a technical snag.