NEW DELHI: Four person onboard a Pawan Hans chopper that crashed into the Arabian Sea near ONGC Sagar Kiran rig on Tuesday morning have lost their lives. Three of them were ONGC employees. The brand new Pawan Hans Sikorsky chopper had nine persons, two pilots and seven passengers, on board.
The chopper (VT-PWI) had taken off from Juhu for Sagar Kiran rig. The survivors are learnt to have been shifted to Mumbai's Nanavati Hospital.
In a statement, ONGC said the chopper had made an "emergency landing" around 11.45 am on Arabian Sea, one nautical mile away from ONGC offshore rig Sagar Kiran. The oil major activated a contingency plan and the Indian Navy and Coast Guard were informed.
"ONGC vessels near the location were mobilized for search and rescue operation.... one person was rescued by life boat launched from ONGC Rig Sagar Kiran and four persons were rescued by ONGC stand by vessel Malviya 16," ONGC said.
The Navy also deputed its vessels and chopper while Coast Guard diverted its vessels and an aircraft.
"Four persons rescued by Navy chopper were brought to the base unconsciously and taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, they could not survive. ONGC deeply mourns this tragic loss of lives.... An enquiry has been instituted," the oil major added.
A team of senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation
(DGCA) also rushed to the site. Sources say the chopper that crashed is a brand new Sikorsky S-76D.
The regulatory team has completed its preliminary assessment of accident under DGCA's director (air safety-western region) Sanjay Bramhane. Pawan Hans had recently taken on lease six Sikorsky S-76D helicopters from Milestone Aviation Group (Milestone). Sikorsky is a subsidiary of US aerospace major Lockheed Martin.