No luck in search for Army officer who went missing during training exercise

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Jodhpur (Raj), Jan 11 (PTI) An Army captain who had gone missing after he jumped into a lake here as part of a training exercise remained untraceable for the fifth day on Monday, police said.

Captain Ankit Gupta (28) of 10 Para (Special Forces), the Army’s specialised unit for desert warfare, had jumped into Kalyana Lake from a helicopter on January 7 as part of the training exercise but could not come up with other trainees, police had said, fearing that he might have drowned.

According to sources, the Army had arranged for heavy compressors to churn the water, hoping that the method would help in tracing the officer if he was stuck somewhere in the bottom of the lake.

Pipes connected to these compressors were dropped to the bottom of the lake, and air with heavy pressure was infused in these pipes to stir the bottom and create huge waves, they said.

Daulal Malviya, who is part of the search operation, said this conventional method was used by him to fish out a body 20 years ago in Udaipur.

Meanwhile, a new team of 20 experts and divers equipped with special cameras, joined the operation. Talking about the search operation, police officer Manoj Kumar from the Rajiv Gandhi Nagar Police Station said every person engaged in the rescue effort has been working tirelessly to find the officer.

“Over 250 people comprising experts, divers and others have been actively mobilised. Fifteen boats equipped with all required resources and equipment have been pressed into service,' he said.

Experts, however, rued that thick moss in the bottom of the lake, rocky formation, sticky sand and shrubs have been hindering the search operation. Hailing from Gurgaon, Captain Gupta had married barely a month ago and had returned to complete his special training, sources added.