Special Correspondent

MUMBAI: A Sea King helicopter of the Navy "force-landed" on the sea near naval air station INS Kunjali here on Wednesday but its four-member crew came out safely.

Defence spokesman Captain Abhay Lambhate told The Hindu that the helicopter was on a routine training mission and was returning to the Kunjali.

The Navy has ordered a board of inquiry into the incident. Sources said engine failure seemed to be the reason for the force landing. Later, a crane based at the Kunjali salvaged the damaged aircraft.

The Sea King is an anti-submarine warfare helicopter, and can be armed with torpedoes. All Indian frigates and destroyers are capable of operating Sea Kings. The helicopters report the location of submarines to the mother ship for tracking and attacking it.

The Navy has around 20 such helicopters, acquired in 1985 from Westland Helicopters.