A Pawan Hans helicopter that took off from the Mumbai coast earlier today has crashed with 7 people on board, including ONGC employees. The Coast Guard while talking about the incident said, “1 Pawanhans Helicopter of ONGC flying from Juhu Mumbai to ODA Offshore Development Area lost at sea this morning. The total crew on board 5 besides 2 pilot. Large scale Indian Coast Guard sear and rescue operation underway. Debris located by CG Ship and one body recovered.” The helicopter had lost contact with Air Traffic Control (ATC) 30 nautical miles off Mumbai. Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan while talking about the incident tweeted, “Spoke to Defence Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharamanji & 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.”
The Indian Coast Guard on its Twitter account shared a post saying, “@IndiaCoastGuard 05 Ships & 02 Aircraft engaged in extensive SAR operation in area for missing crew/pilots of ill fated aircraft. 03 bodies recovered. One body is identified as of Mr. Garg, DGM, ONGC. @DefenceMinIndia @SpokespersonMoD @PIB_India”
@IndiaCoastGuard 05 Ships & 02 Aircraft engaged in extensive SAR operation in area for missing crew/pilots of ill fated aircraft. 03 bodies recovered. One body is identified as of Mr. Garg, DGM, ONGC. @DefenceMinIndia @SpokespersonMoD @PIB_India
— Indian Coast Guard (@IndiaCoastGuard) January 13, 2018
Soon after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted, “@indiannavy and @IndiaCoastGuard are extending all possible assistance in the #SAR Search and Rescue of @ONGC_ helicopter and pax on board. Wish for their safety. @DefenceMinIndia @dpradhanbjp.”
— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) January 13, 2018
While the search for the 7 people on board is underway, news agencies reported that the helicopter had taken off from Juhu at 10.20 am & was scheduled to land at North Field of ONGC at 10.58 but didn’t reach there. It further said that after 10:30 AM, no contact was established with the helicopter. Navy Spokesperson while talking about the missing helicopter said, “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.” He added, “One more ship leaving Mumbai harbour. One Dornier getting airborne to join the search. One Skg42C standing by at Colaba air station.”
A senior ONGC employee while talking about the same was quoted saying, “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,” according to Indian Express. The Indian Coast Guard has said that they have already diverted ship and aircraft to area and update will be given when news regarding the same is available.