Pawan Hans chopper with 7 onboard crashes off Mumbai coast; 5 bodies found, search on

A Pawan Hans helicopter with at least five ONGC officials and two pilots on board crashed shortly after take-off from Juhu Airport on Saturday.

By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: Jan 14, 2018, 00:19 AM IST
Pawan Hans chopper with 7 onboard crashes off Mumbai coast; 5 bodies found, search on
Image Credit: ANI

Mumbai: A Pawan Hans helicopter with at least five Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) officials and two pilots onboard crashed shortly after take-off from Juhu Airport here on Saturday.

According to the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and Navy, at least five bodies have been recovered from the debris of the ill-fated ONGC chopper near the sea coast.

Meanwhile, a massive search operation is still on for other missing persons.

A massive search and rescue operation involving five ships, 2 Dornier aircraft and two helicopters is currently on to trace those missing, an official spokesperson of the ICG said.

Those onboard the ill-fated chopper have been identified as R Saravanan, V K Babu, Jose Anthony, Pankaj Garg and P Shrinivasan.

All are top-ranking ONGC employees.

Meanwhile, the two pilots of the chopper have been identified as Captain Ohatkar and Captain Katoch. 

Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas said, ''It is a sad and painful incident for ONGC. Information received till now shows that four bodies have been recovered.'' 

The minister also met the family members of one of those ONGC employees who lost their lives in the helicopter crash.

According to latest reports, the wreckage of the Pawan Hans Helicopter on ONGC duty has been spotted. 

An ICG official confirmed that part of the chopper wreckage was found near Uttan Beach, in Thane district.

Rescuers and divers from the Indian Coast Guard are continuing the search for those missing. 

Earlier, ICG ship Agrim managed to recover three bodies from the Arabian Sea, including one of a passenger named Pankaj Garg, while the search continues for the remaining four missing.

The Dauphin chopper took off at 10.20 am Just 15 minutes later, it suddenly lost contact with both the Mumbai ATC and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).

At that time, it was reported to be flying around 55 km off the Mumbai shoreline, on a regular sortie to the ONGC's Bombay High oilfields, around 175 km northwest from here.

ONGC has key oil and gas fields off the Mumbai coast and Pawan Hans helicopters routinely ferry company employees and officers to the oil installations that are situated as far as 160 kilometres from the coastline.

The field in the offshore iincludesMumbai High, the nation's largest oil field and Bassein fields, the largest gas field.

The helicopter crash is not the first accident in ONGC's history.

In August 2003, an Mi-172 helicopter crashed off the Mumbai coast killing 27 people and pilot on-board.

(With ANI inputs)