Kathua helicopter crash: Search continues for missing pilots, helicopter; International assistance being sought

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Jammu: Indian Army on Tuesday said that searches are in progress to trace missing pilots and the helicopter that has crashed in Ranjit Sagar Lake in Basholi area of Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir.
Jammu based defence spokesman Lt Col Devender Anand said that military authorities are leaving no stone unturned to search for the helicopter which crashed and sank into the Ranjit Sagar Dam on Aug 3 along with two pilots.
The expanse of the dam is 25 km long, 8 km wide and more than 500 feet deep.
Indian Army is coordinating the efforts of the Indian Navy deep divers team consisting of two Officers, four JCOs and 24 Other Ranks, the Indian Army Special Forces diverse team consisting of two Officers, one JCO and 24 Other Ranks.
He further said that multibeam sonars, side scanners, remotely operated vehicles and underwater manipulators have been flown in from Chandigarh, Delhi, Mumbai and Kochi and also pressed into action at the crash site of the dam.
He said that the expertise and equipment of the Army, Navy, IAF, NDRF, SDRF, NGOs, State Police, Dam Authority and private firms from all over the country have also been into action.
“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,” said the Colonel.
Experts, specialised equipment and divers are being continuously flown in and international assistance is also being sought, he said.
The spokesman added that no efforts are being spared for the early conclusion of the search operation. 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.