SRINAGAR: Body of Lieutenant Colonel AS Baath, one of the pilots onboard the ill-fated Dhruv helicopter of Army Aviation Corps that had crashed into the Ranjit Sagar reservoir on Jammu and Kashmir—Punjab border, was recovered after 12 days on Sunday evening.
Quoting a senior army official the news agency KNO reported that the body of Lt Col AS Baath was retrieved from a depth of 75.9 metre at 18:19 hours (6.19 pm) from the Ranjit Sagar lake.
“Efforts are on to retrieve the mortal remains of the second pilot,” he said.
The official said that the body of the pilot was moved to Military Hospital Pathankot for post mortem and other necessary procedures.
“The search operation, which continued till about 7 p.m, will resume tomorrow morning to trace another pilot’s body,” he said.
The Dhruv helicopter from an Army Aviation Corps squadron based at Pathankot had taken off on a routine sortie on August 3, when it crashed into the reservoir near Kathua in Jammu region.
Only a part of the helicopter’s wreckage was recovered in the initial phase of the search.
Officials said that fivers from the Navy and the Army’s Special Forces have been involved in search operations using multi-beam sonars, side scanners, remotely operated vehicles and underwater manipulators which have been flown in from Chandigarh, Delhi, Mumbai and Kochi.
“Yesterday, the IAF had airlifted a Submarine Rescue Unit of the Indian Navy from Vishakapatnam to the crash site to explore the digitally located wreckage at a depth of approximately 80 – 100 metre,” they said.
Meanwhile, sources said this was the second incident involving a Dhruv helicopter from the same squadron in the past six months.
“Another Dhruv from a different unit, also based at Pathankot, made a forced landing in the fields last week after suffering an oil leak,” sources added.