Kathua/Chandigarh, Aug 3: An Army helicopter crashed into the Ranjit Sagar Dam lake in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua on Tuesday, prompting the authorities to launch a massive search operation to trace the missing, an official said.
The dam is located about 30 km from Pathankot in Punjab and the incident took place around 10.30 pm.
Kathua Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) R C Kotwal told reporters that the forces and boats were mobilised for the search operation, after which some pieces of chopper were found, confirming it to be an Army helicopter.
"We cannot say how many people were in the chopper and what happened to them," the SSP said.
Specialised forces and Army divers are carrying out the search operation and the picture will be clear in next four to five hours, he added.
The exact place of the crash has been identified and some floating material has been recovered, the SSP said, stressing that it is a huge lake and the operation will take time.
The depth of the crash site has been measured to be over 200 feet.
As per the unconfirmed reports, the chopper belonged to the 254 Army Aviation Squadron and had taken off from Mamun cantonment and it came down during low-level sortie when it lost control.
Eyewitnesses said the chopper was flying over the lake and suddenly it came down and crashed into the water with a loud thud.
It was a Dhruv chopper, which crashed at Purthu area in Basohli in the lake area, they said.
According to reports, two people were on board.
During the search operation, a helmet, two big size bags, one shoe and some helicopter parts were recovered.