Army helicopter crashes into Ranjit Sagar Dam lake in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua

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An Indian Army helicopter crashed into the Ranjit Sagar Dam lake in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district on Tuesday, PTI reported. The dam is about 30 km from Punjab’s Pathankot district.

The accident took place around 10.30 am during a routine sortie, F10 News reported, quoting unidentified Army officials. The pilot and the co-pilot are missing and divers have been sent in to look for them, according to The Tribune.

“Some of the floating material of the chopper [has been] recovered,” the senior superintendent of police, Kathua, told F10 News. “Specialised forces and divers are conducting rescue operations. Only after divers go into the lake will we know what exactly happened.”

Earlier reports said there were no casualties in the incident.

The Army has not released a statement yet, and the number of people on board the chopper was also not immediately clear, according to The Hindu.

The Ranjit Sagar Dam is located on the border between Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir, and Pathankot district in Punjab.

The National Disaster Response Force has also been helping with the search and rescue operation, reported Times Now. Army teams are also at the site of the crash.

The Punjab Police have also sent their teams to the spot, Pathankot Superintendent of Police Surendra Lamba told PTI.

The chopper belonged to the 254 Army Aviation Squadron and had taken off from Mamun cantonment 10 minutes before it came down, The Tribune reported.

The newspaper quoted officials as saying that as per initial investigation, the chopper developed a technical snag while flying over the lake.

Deputy Commissioner Sanyam Aggarwal said that he had dispatched a team of senior administrative officials led by the district revenue officer to the spot.

“Concerned over the news of an Army helicopter crash at Ranjit Sagar Dam, Pathankot,” Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh tweeted. “Administration has rushed teams to the location, rescue operations are underway.”

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