On Wednesday, August 11, the Indian Army's rescue operations found a beacon of hope after it managed to identify the Army helicopter wreckage at a depth of 80 meters in the Ranjit Sagar reservoir. Heavy-duty remotely operated vehicles are being flown in to assist in the recovery operations.
The news was confirmed by the Western Command of the Indian Army in an official statement, also released on its Twitter handle.
The expedition in the rescue and recovery efforts has turned up after Neel Joshi, brother of one of the pilots Captain Jayant Joshi rolled out a plea on his Twitter handle for the same. In his post, shared on August 9, he stated that the rescue operations are going on at a snail pace and this is causing much distress to the family.
My brother Capt. Jayant Joshi's hepter crashed in Ranjit Sagar Dam on Tuesday 2nd August.— Neel⭐️⭐️ (@Neel92Joshi) August 9, 2021
Almost 1 week later, he has not been recovered. I wish I could explain the agony of my parents.
Operations to extract the wreckage are ongoing at a snail's pace with no end in sight. (1/n)
The Western Command's Area Of Responsibility (AOR) covers the states of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and parts of Jammu. Responding to Neel Joshi's public accusation, also reported by several media outlets, the Western Command clarified, "Military authorities are leaving no stone unturned to search for the helicopter which crashed and sank into the Ranjit Sagar Reservoir on August 3, along with two pilots. The expansive reservoir is 25 kms long, 8 kms wide and more than 500 feet deep." The statement issued also mentioned that the Army is coordinating with Navy divers and Army special divers to provide aid in the efforts.
Search op underway
Currently, multibeam sonars, side scanners, remotely operated vehicles and underwater manipulators flown in from different parts of the country are being used to recover the plane wreckage and bodies of the missing pilots who were in the copter at the time of the accident.
According to a report by The Print, the Indian Army might be seeking assistance from Israel to further expedite the search operations. While the official statement does mention international assistance, it doesn't pronounce any country in reference.
Earlier on Tuesday, an officer quoted by the Indian Express had told, "An area of 25 square meters has been identified on the sound wave reflections from the wreckage of the helicopter. However, the depth of the wreckage is still unknown."
Another report by the Hindustan Times quoted Kathua senior superintendent of police (SSP) Ramesh Chander Kotwal saying that once the main wreckage of the plane is located, tracing bodies of the missing pilots would be easier.