In a tragic incident, a Pawan Hans chopper crashed after taking off from the Juhu airport in Mumbai on Saturday morning. There were a total of seven people on board including two pilots.
Initially, the chopper was missing after it lost contact with Air Traffic Control 30 nautical miles off Mumbai. The chopper was scheduled to land at Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC) North Field at 10:58 A.M. But after 10:30 A.M., all contact from the helicopter was lost.
There were five ONGC employees on board and sources revealed, “The pilots, as per the procedure, had changed over their radio contact from Juhu air traffic control to the one manned on the oil rig around 10:25 A.M.”
Soon after contact with the helicopter was disrupted and an alert was sent to different agencies when the flight failed to land long past its expected arrival time. A Senior ONGC Official stated search operations were underway. He 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.”
The Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan spoke to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and requested the Coast Guard and other agencies join in the search operations.
The Indian Coast Guard has also come forward to help in the search operation. The Indian Coast Guard said, “We have already diverted ship and aircraft to area. Will update once any news is received.”
After a few hours of searching a Coast Guard ship spotted the debris of the Pawan Hans helicopter. The officials then managed to recover one of the bodies. Two Immediate Support Vessels (ISV) were patrolling in the area and were immediately diverted for search and rescue along with the Coast Guard units. Totally, four bodies have been recovered by the Indian Coast Guard while searching the area. The search operation is still underway and more news is awaited.