At least four dead as chopper with ONGC employees crashes, search ops underway

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A Pawan Hans helicopter with five ONGC employees and two pilots on board crashed off the coast of Dahanu near Mumbai on Saturday. So far four bodies have been recovered 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.

According to an ONGC statement, the helicopter had gone missing around 10.40 am. “ONGC has pressed its helicopter and speedboats for search operation as soon as the information received by the Helibase Control Room.”

“One Pawanhans Helicopter of ONGC flying from Juhu #Mumbai to ODA Offshore Development Area lost at Sea this morning. Total crew on board 05 besides two pilot. Large scale @IndiaCoastGuard SAR Operation underway. Debris located by CG Ship and one body recovered @DefenceMinIndia,” the Indian Coast Guard wrote on Twitter.

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.

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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.

The reason behind the incident is yet to be ascertained. Out of the four bodies that have been recovered till now, two are of ONGC employees-Pankaj Garg and Bindulal Babu.

Meanwhile, the pilots have been identified  as Captain V Katoch and Captain Ramesh Othakar.

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