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Four dead as ONGC chopper falls into sea off Mumbai

Rescue operation is under way after an ONGC helicopter carrying nine persons, including two pilots, fell into the Arabian Sea off Mumbai on June 28, 2022. Four people were unconscious and were airlifted in a Navy chopper to a hospital in Mumbai, where they were declared dead, according to officials. Photo: Indian Coast Guard via PTI

Rescue operation is under way after an ONGC helicopter carrying nine persons, including two pilots, fell into the Arabian Sea off Mumbai on June 28, 2022. Four people were unconscious and were airlifted in a Navy chopper to a hospital in Mumbai, where they were declared dead, according to officials. Photo: Indian Coast Guard via PTI

Four persons, three of them ONGC employees, were killed when a helicopter with nine persons on board crashed into the Arabian Sea, about 50 nautical miles from the Mumbai coast, on Tuesday.

The helicopter, which was part of the six Sikorsky S-76D helicopters that Pawan Hans recently leased from Milestone Aviation Group, was about five minutes from its destination — the ONGC’s Sagar Kiran rig — when it went down, company officials said.

The helicopter crashed around 11.45 a.m., just 1 nautical mile from Sagar Kiran, but managed to stay afloat with the help of the attached floaters, helping rescuers pull out all the nine, including two pilots.

Four persons were unconscious and flown on a Navy chopper to a hospital in Mumbai, where they were declared dead. Three of the deceased are employees of the ONGC, which had hired the helicopter service from Pawan Hans. The fourth person belongs to a contractor.

Officials said the ONGC had already instituted an inquiry into the incident. The DGCA is also likely to order a separate inquiry.

The circumstances that led to the incident were not immediately known but western offshore had inclement weather and there was a swell in the sea.

Officials said the ONGC had already instituted an inquiry into the incident. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation is also likely to order a separate inquiry.

Officials said the chopper took off from the Juhu helibase this morning just like any other day but 1 or 1.5 km from the landing zone on the rig, it went down into the sea.

"What we don't know is if the helicopter toppled during the float," an official said.

On first information, the ONGC and the Navy scrambled vessels for the rescue.

A high-speed boat from Sagar Kiran rig was first to reach the spot. In a matter of 90-100 minutes, all personnel were pulled out.

While vessel Malviya-16 rescued four persons, one person was pulled out by rescue boat from Sagar Kiran rig. Navy choppers airlifted four unconscious persons to hospitals in Mumbai, the official said.

The helicopter sank soon after.

A multi-support vessel (MSV) is already at the spot, trying to salvage the helicopter wreckage, he said, adding divers too were at the spot.

The 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 km from the coastline.


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Printable version | Jun 29, 2022 12:19:34 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ongc-chopper-makes-emergency-landing-in-high-sea/article65575504.ece