Mumbai : A Pawan Hans helicopter with five ONGC employees and two pilots on board crashed off the coast of Dahanu near Mumbai on Saturday. So far four bodies have been recovered and search operations for the missing are underway. The chopper, which took off from Juhu airport at 10.20 am, was scheduled to land at North Field of ONGC at 10.58 am. The last contact made with the Air Traffic Control and ONGC was at 10.35 am.
“One Pawanhans Helicopter of ONGC flying from Juhu #Mumbai to ODA Offshore Development Area lost at Sea this morning. Total crew on board 05 besides two pilot. Large scale @IndiaCoastGuard SAR Operation underway. Debris located by CG Ship and one body recovered @DefenceMinIndia,” the Indian Coast Guard wrote on Twitter.
Following are the names of the ONGC employees who were on the chopper: Sarvannan, V K Babu, Jose Anthony, Pankaj Garg and P Shrinivasan. All of them are Deputy General Managers.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman took to Twitter to inform that Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard are extending all possible assistance in the search and rescue operation for the VTPWA Dauphin AS 365 N3 helicopter and its personnel onboard.
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has reacted to the incident. “Spoke to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and requested for help from Coast Guard and other agencies in the search and rescue operations; CMDONGC has rushed to Mumbai; pray for safety of the ONGC officers and the pilots,” he wrote on Twitter.
“We have deployed all our choppers including from each of our naval bases in search of the missing chopper. It is a Pawan Hans chopper, carrying five employees. We are working towards finding the chopper at the earliest,” a senior ONGC official said earlier.
“2X Immediate Support Vehicles (ISV) already deployed for patrol in area have been diverted for search and rescue along with 3 X Indian Coast Guard units already in area. Seaking 42B helicopter being launched in addition,” the Navy spokesperson said. “One more ship leaving Mumbai harbour. One Dornier getting airborne to join search. One Skg42C standing by at Colaba air station,” it added.