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Army chopper crashes in Kathua; fate of helicopter pilots still unknown

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Jammu: An army chopper Tuesday crashed after developing some technical snag in Kathua district of Jammu division, officials said here.

The chopper crashed at around 11.00 am at Purthu in Basohli, a hilly area in Kathua district and the fate of person/persons on-board was not known when this report was being filed.

Official sources said that Army’s Rudra helicopter crashed into the Ranjit Sagar Dam lake and the search and rescue crews recovered the wreckage of the chopper along with some pilot gear.

“But the fate of pilot and the co-pilot is yet to be known,” they said.

The Rudra helicopter, built at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), was carrying out a training sortie that involved low-level flying over the lake, a local news agency KNO quoted an official as saying.

The helicopter belonged to the army’s Pathankot-based 254 ALH-WSI squadron, which lost a Rudra chopper in January 2021. Four Rudra helicopters have been involved in mishaps in as many years.

Meanwhile, Kathua SSP Ramesh Kotwal told reporters that the chopper crashed around 10.45 am. “While deep water divers are on the job, the operation will take time. Police and local boatmen retrieved some floating material from the lake. It will take time to retrieve the entire wreckage. We retrieved two helmets,” he said, adding that the lake was up to 250 feet deep.

“The area where the chopper crashed has been zeroed in. Special Forces of the army, deep water divers are on the job, but the water is not clear,” he said.

Army ambulances, two helicopters, senior army officers and civil administration officials were present on the spot.

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