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Helicopter with five ONGC personnel, two pilots, crashes off Mumbai; five bodies found

A view of the search and rescue operations mounted by  the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard in the Arabian Sea off the Mumbai coast, to locate a Pawan Hans helicopter that crashed with seven people on board, on January 13, 2018. Photo: Courtesy: Indian Coast Guard
A view of the search and rescue operations mounted by the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard in the Arabian Sea off the Mumbai coast, to locate a Pawan Hans helicopter that crashed with seven people on board, on January 13, 2018. Photo: Courtesy: Indian Coast Guard
A Pawan Hans helicopter with seven people on board -- five Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) officers and two pilots -- crashed into the Arabian Sea, off the Mumbai coast, this morning and search and rescue teams have recovered five bodies so far, official sources said.
 
The helicopter was on its way from the Juhu helibase here to an oil rig in Mumbai High North when it was reported missing.
 
Ships and aircraft of the Indian Navy, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and the ONGC mounted a massive search and rescue operation in the area where the helicopter was reported missing.
 
An ICG ship located the wreckage of the aircraft and five bodies had been recovered by this evening. The identification of the bodies is in progress, official sources said.
 
Search and rescue efforts to locate the two missing persons were continuing, the sources said.
 
The helicopter had taken off from Juhu at 1006 hours and was enroute to Oil Rig ‘NQO’ in Mumbai High North, 92 miles north-west of Mumbai. Communication with the helicopter was lost at 1036 hours when it was about 37 nautical miles from Mumbai.
 
ONGC pressed into service its helicopter and speedboats for search operations as soon as the information was received by the Helibase Control Room.
 
ONGC said it had deployed five speedboats, one MSV and one helicopter in the search operations, which are being steered by its top management.
 
ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Shashi Shanker has rushed to Mumbai to monitor the search operations.
 
"The reason behind the unfortunate incident is yet to be ascertained," a press release from ONGC said.
 
"The Navy and the Coast Guard are on the job. I am also going to Mumbai to coordinate the efforts. I will discuss it with Defence Minister. She is also cooperating and has instructed the Navy and Coast Guard to look into the issue," Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said.
 
The ICG has deployed five ships, two Dornier aircraft and two helicopters in the extensive search and rescue (SAR) operations.
 
Four Indian Naval Ships (T11, T45, Tarasa and Teg), one Dornier aircraft and one Seaking helicopter have been deployed towards the area. The search efforts are being augmented by one P8I Long Range aircraft. Additional ships and aircraft are being kept ready at Mumbai for deployment as and when required. 
 
The wreckage was located at a point about 37 nauticalmiles from Mumbai, the sources said.
 
NNN
 
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