Mumbai ONGC chopper crash: Seventh body found; accident case registered

The body was located by the rescuers on the third day of search in the high seas, an Indian Coast Guard spokesperson said.

Mumbai ONGC chopper crash: Seventh body found; accident case registered

Mumbai: The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) rescuers and divers on Monday located the last remaining body – one of the two missing pilots of the ill-fated Pawan Hans helicopter Limited chopper that crashed minutes after take-off from Juhu Airport on January 13 morning.

The body was located by the rescuers on the third day of search in the high seas, an Indian Coast Guard spokesperson said.

The rescue teams of Indian Navy and the Coast Guard had earlier recovered six bodies on Saturday, including the five ONGC deputy general managers who perished and one of the pilots.

The chopper carrying five top-ranking ONGC officials and two pilots was on a regular sortie to the Bombay High gas-oil fields, around 175 kms from here, but it never returned. 

The chopper went missing from the radars barely 15 minutes after the take-off.

ICG ship Samrat found the pilot`s body while ONGC vessel Samudra Sevak in the crash site recovered more debris of the crashed Dauphin helicopter, including rotor blades, main gearbox, tail gearbox, both engines, emergency locator transmitter and other items from the Arabian Sea.

A high-level ONGC team met top Coast Guard officials to assess the situation arising out of the tragedy and formulate a further strategy for the recovery of the debris of the crashed chopper and parts of the victims` bodies, if any.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police today registered an Accidental Death Report (ADR) in the Pawan Hans helicopter crash case.

After registering a case at the Santacruz Police Station, it was transferred to the Yellowgate Police Station in south Mumbai for further action, said Deputy Commissioner of Police, Port Zone, Rashmi Karandikar.

She said that after the detailed investigations are complete, Mumbai Police will submit its probe report to the central and state governments.

Officials said though the helicopter took from Juhu Airport which is under the jurisdiction of the Santacruz Police Station, it has been transferred to Yellowgate Police which exclusively handles investigations into all sea-related cases and off-shore incidents.

According to available information, the chopper had been recently inspected and was carrying more than three hours of fuel onboard when it took off at 10.14 am on January 13.

As per established procedures, the pilots changed their radio contact from Juhu ATC to a control manned from the ONGC oil rig at around 10.25 am, and remained in touch with the oil rig control for about two minutes or 10 kms before the chopper lost all contact with surface when it was around 55 kms from Mumbai over the high seas.

The chopper was expected to land at one of the oil platforms around 11 am, which it never did.

(With IANS inputs)

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