Home Business Chopper carrying ONGC employees crashes off Mumbai coast, at least 4 dead

Chopper carrying ONGC employees crashes off Mumbai coast, at least 4 dead

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(G.N.S) Dt. 13
Mumbai
A Pawan Hans helicopter crashed off the Mumbai coast with seven people on board, including two pilots. The helicopter lost contact with the air traffic control today shortly after take-off from Juhu Aerodrome at 10:20 AM this morning. The chopper, VT PWA Dauphin, last contacted the Air Traffic Control at 10:35 AM when it was about 30 nautical miles off the Mumbai coast. Among those on board were officials from the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation or ONGC who were headed for the Offshore Development Area in the north fields of Mumbai High. The Indian Coast guard has launched a search operation for the helicopter. Choppers and Immediate Support Vessels or ISVs have been deployed. Helicopter with ONGC employees on board crashes, debris found Mumbai chopper crash: The helicopter took off from Juhu airport at 10.20 am.
A Pawan Hans helicopter with five ONGC employees and two pilots on board crashed off the coast of Dahanu near Mumbai on Saturday. One body has been recovered by rescuers 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.
Two Immediate Support Vessels or ISVs deployed for patrol in area have been diverted for search & rescue along with three Coast Guard units already in area. Seaking 42 B helicopter being launched in addition: Navy Spokesperson on missing helicopter.
Sources added that while Garg’s body was identified by his identity card, Babu’s was identified through his driving license found in the wallet. The other three passengers on-board the ill-fated aircraft are- Sarvannan, Jose Anthony and P Shrinivasan. “Search and rescue operations are underway to locate them. With every passing hour, the possibility of rescuing them alive bleaks,” added the official.
“Currently five speedboats, one MSV and One chopper from ONGC have been deployed in the area to conduct search operations. The Coast Guard and Indian Navy are also extending all supports to beef up the search operations by deploying choppers and rescue boats,” said ONGC in a statement.
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. The helicopter had just returned from a G-inspection, done after every 500 hours flown by a chopper. The engine is opened and serviced.
A Dauphin chopper, VT PWA, with seven people–2 crew memebers and 5 ONGCBSE 1.26 % employees–on board, lost contact with the air traffic controls in Mumbai this morning.
The chopper was airborne at 10:20 am and its last contact with the ATC was at 10:35 am, 30 nautical miles off Mumbai.
It was a chopper operated by Pawan Hans, India’s state owned helicopter operator. It had been registered on February 28,2011.
The helicopter had just returned from a G-inspection, done after every 500 hours flown by a chopper. The engine is opened and serviced.
The officials on board were general manager level executives of ONGC.
A spokesperson at ONGC said an official statement would be issued shortly.
The chopper Dauphin N3 had gone missing after taking off from Juhu aerodrome at 10.30 AM.
“The Coast Guard confirms that its ships picked up three bodies from the site of Pawan Hans helicopter crash off the Mumbai coast,” a Coast Guard spokesperson said.
The chopper, bearing registration number VT-PWA, was scheduled to land at the designated oil rig at Mumbai High at 11 am. Five employees of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and two pilots were on board the chopper.
Search and rescue operations have begun for the Pawan Hans Dauphin N2 helicopter which went missing on Saturday morning with 7 people onboard. According to the defence spokesperson, some objects, which could be parts of the helicopter have been recovered from the site. Whether it is parts of the wreckage is yet be confirmed. A Dornier aircraft and a ship have been deployed for search and rescue.
The helicopter (VT PWA), with 2 Pawan Hans pilots and 5 passengers, all ONGC employees, took off at 10.14 am from Juhu airport. The helicopter had 3 hour and 10 minutes of fuel onboard. The last contact it established was around 10.30 am, with an air traffic control manned from an oil rig.
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“The pilots, as per the procedure, had changed over their radio contact from Juhu air traffic control to the one manned on the oil rig around 10.25 am,” said a source. Thereafter, they were in touch with the rig air traffic controller for upto 9 kms, about 2 mins. “There has been no contact with the helicopter since 10.30 am, by when it was about 50 kms off the coast of Mumbai,” the source added. The helicopter was expected to land at the rig around 11 am.
The Coast guard and Indian Navy has begun search operations. “A ship and aircraft have been diverted to the area to coordinate in search and rescue operations,” a defence spokesperson said.
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.
“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.
The reason behind the incident is yet to be ascertained. Meanwhile, the pilots have been identified as Captain V Katoch and Captain Ramesh Othakar.
President Ram Nath Kovind expressed grief at the loss of lives and said : “Sad to learn about Pawan Hans helicopter crash off the coast of Mumbai. Thoughts with families of those who have lost their lives.”
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also expressed condolences and tweeted,”I am also pained to hear about the loss of lives in PawanHans helicopter crash off the Mumbai coast. Our deep condolences to the bereaved families.”
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.
The Navy said it had deployed its stealth frigate INS Teg for the search operation while surveillance aircraft P8i was also pressed into service. The Coast Guard had also diverted its ships to search the missing chopper. A senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official said that the aircraft accident investigation body AAIB will probe the Pawan Hans chopper crash. “Since it is a clear accident, this chopper crash will be probed by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB),” the official told media. He said the DGCA will extend all necessary help to the AAIB in conducting the probe.
AAIB is the apex body which probes serious incidents and accidents involving aircraft registered in India and comes under the civil aviation ministry. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha expressed deep anguish over the loss of lives. “IndiaCoastGuard Ship on receipt of information reached area, located the debris, picked up a body at 1230 hrs,” he said on twitter. “So far resulted in 03 body recovery. Search & rescue operations are underway. Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau will launch thorough inquiry (sic),” he tweeted.

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