ALH Rudra crashes in Ranjit Sagar Dam, conflicting information on pilots

An ALH Rudra, also called ALH WSI, a Weapon System Integrated version of the Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv from the Indian Army Aviation Corp’s 254 Aviation Squadron crashed while carrying out low level sorties near Jammu and Kashmir’s Sagar Dam Lake. The dam is situated in the Union Territory’s Kathua district, approximately 30 Kilometers away from Pathankot from the where the chopper took off. No casualties have been reported yet with army inputs suggesting that the pilot and co-pilot are safe.

“We have received information that an Army Helicopter has crashed in the lake. We have rushed to the spot,” Superintendent of Police, Pathankot, Surendra Lamba informed the Press Trust of India. “Rescue teams have been rushed to the spot, divers have been called in. There is no information about the number of people onboard the chopper,” said Senior Superintendent of Police, Kathua, RC Knot while addressing the media.

However, Indian Army sources have said, “The search operations for the two pilots are still on,” and claimed, “Initial reports from the ground suggested that they have been recovered safely.” The Asian News International had quoted army sources earlier as saying, “Both the pilots from the Army Aviation ALH Dhruv helicopter, which crashed in Ranjit Sagar Dam, are safe. The Weapon System Integrated helicopter had taken off from Pathankot (Punjab) and met with the accident during a routine sortie.”

Army Spokerperson, Col. Sudhir Chamoli, told Frontier India that rescue is still in progress.

Police and Indian Army rescue teams are already on site and the National Disaster Response Force have also been deployed.

This is the second army aviation crash. Another Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Dhruv helicopter crashed in Kathua district’s Lakhanpur area, near the J&K-Punjab border in January “after developing technical snag,” which resulted in the death of the pilot and critically injured the co-pilot.

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Aritra Banerjee
Aritra Banerjee
Aritra Banerjee is the Co-Founder of the Online Military-Reforms Think-Tank 'Mission Victory India' (MVI), Correspondent at Indian Aerospace & Defence Magazine, and Contributing Editor at Frontier India. He has worked extensively as a Defence Journalist in print and online media with stints at Fauji India and EurAsian Times.
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