Photo: Twitter (@IndiaCoastGuard)
A Pawan Hans helicopter carrying five ONGC employees and two crew members crashed off the Mumbai coast, ONGC confirmed in a statement on Saturday.
“ONGC confirms that the Pawan Hans Chopper with seven persons including two pilots and five ONGC officers crashed in the sea today morning. ONGC pressed into action all resources to conduct search operations immediately,” the state-run oil company said in a media statement.
According to the official statement issued in the evening, five bodies have been recovered so far and search operation is on for other missing persons. Indian Coast Guard also tweeted, two of the five bodies recovered were identified by identity cards found in the deceased’s wallets.
The company in its statement added, it is yet to ascertain the reason behind the unfortunate incident.
ONGC in an earlier statement said the Pawan Hans Helicopter carrying five senior ONGC officers to Offshore from Juhu Helibase went missing around 10.40 hours on Saturday morning. After receiving the missing report, a search operation was started with support from the coast guard and the Indian navy.
The search operation was steered by the ONGC top Management, with Shashi Shanker, chairman and managing director for ONGC monitoring the search operation.
“ONGC has pressed its helicopter and speedboats for search operation as soon as the information received by the Helibase Control Room,” the company added in its statement. According to the Indian Coast Guard, the Pawan Hans Helicopter was flying from Juhu in Mumbai to the Offshore Development Area.
Jayant Sinha, minister of state for civil aviation in a tweet said the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau will launch a thorough inquiry into the incident.
Deeply anguished by tragic Pawan Hans / ONGC helicopter accident off the Mumbai coast. Search & rescue operations are underway. Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau will launch thorough inquiry.
— Jayant Sinha (@jayantsinha) January 13, 2018