NEW DELHI: The mortal remains of one of the two pilots of an Army helicopter that crashed into the Ranjit Sagar Dam lake near Pathankot nearly two weeks ago were found, military sources said on Sunday.
The search and rescue operation for the mortal remains of the second pilot (Captain Jayant Joshi) continues, they said.
"Mortal remains of Lt Col AS Baath retrieved from a depth of 75.9 metres at 6:19 pm from the Ranjit Sagar lake. Efforts to retrieve mortal remains of the second pilot continue," a source said.
The Rudra helicopter belonging to the Army Aviation wing had crashed into the lake on August 3 when it was carrying out a training sortie.
A multi-agency team was carrying out the search and rescue operation.
It has already recovered the wreckage of the chopper along with some pilot gear.
The chopper belonged to the Army's Pathankot-based Aviation Squadron.
"The wreckage of the #ArmyHelicopter that had crashed into the #RanjitSagarReservoir has been identified at a depth of approx 80m from the surface of the reservoir. Heavy duty #RemotelyOperatedVehicles are being flown in to assist the recovery operationsm," the Army's Western Command tweeted four days ago.
Officials said the rescuers were facing difficulty in view of the fact that the expanse of the dam is 25-km-long, 8-km-wide and more than 500 feet deep.
The Army is coordinating the efforts of Indian Navy deep divers' team consisting of two officers, four junior commissioned officers and 24 other ranks, Indian Army special forces divers' team consisting of two officers, one JCO and 24 other ranks, multi beam sonars, side scanners, remotely operated vehicles and underwater manipulators, which have been flown in from Chandigarh, Delhi, Mumbai and Kochi and pressed into action at the crash site, they said.
They said this deep underwater operation is especially challenging due to the near-zero visibility below 50 m owing to the colloidal nature of water in this season which adversely impacts accuracy of sonars and other sensors.