Army co-pilot’s body found in Ranjit Sagar Dam after 75 days

Pathankot, October 17

The body of Captain Jayant Joshi (26), the co-pilot of an Army helicopter that had crashed into the Ranjit Sagar Dam on August 3, has finally been recovered after nearly a two-and-a-half-month-long search, one of the longest such operations in recent history.

Captain Jayant Joshi

The body was taken out from the dam’s lake around 2 pm and later taken to the Pathankot military station. The Army Aviation squadron’s Rudra helicopter had taken off from Mamun military station near Pathankot and crashed into the lake during a routine sortie. The body of Lt Col Abheet Singh Baath, the main pilot of the chopper, was retrieved from the dam on August 15.

Hailing from Uttarakhand, Jayant's family is based in Delhi. His father Harish Joshi had been camping at the Mamun Military Station for the past several days along with his wife Jeevan Tara Joshi, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Military Nursing Service.

Harish had petitioned President Ram Nath Kovind on October 11 to continue the search after it was conveyed to him that the operation could not go on for very long. Earlier too on September 19, he had petitioned the President. The grieving father had said the authorities wanted him to perform the last rites of his son even before the remains were recovered.

“Persistent round-the-clock efforts by the Army and the Navy for 75 days have finally succeeded. Captain Joshi’s body has been recovered from the lake bed using hi-tech equipment,” an Army spokesman said.

He said due to the vast expanse and depth of the dam, the Army was using sophisticated sonar equipment to scan the lake bed. Following inputs, the remotely operated vehicle having a robotic arm along with professional divers was launched to search the area.

Officials engaged in the operation said they deployed various types of equipment belonging to the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force, J&K Police, dam authority and private firms to locate the wreckage of the crashed helicopter.

Heavy machinery and submarine rescue units were flown in too while specialised divers from the Navy and the Army Special Forces worked in tandem during the prolonged operation, which was challenging due to the near-zero visibility in the reservoir because of the colloidal nature of its water. — TNS

Challenging op

  • Near-zero visibility in reservoir due to water’s colloidal nature
  • Sophisticated sonar equipment used to scan the lake bed
  • Specialised divers flown in for longest search in recent history
  • Captain Joshi’s body found at a depth of 65-70 metres

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