LONDON – A brand-new chopper belonging to Pawan Hans Helicopters LTD crashed off the shore in Mumbai killing four members while the other five were injured.
The aircraft had nine people on board including the two pilots.
The aircraft was on its routine flight flying between the oil rigs in offshore Mumbai to the main island. The DGCA is investigating this matter currently whereas event ONGC has found formed its internal committee to investigate the incident which took four lives.
The chopper involved in this incident was a new Sikorsky chopper that Pawan Hans had recently taken on lease and was new in its fleet. The actual cause Of the incident is yet to be determined as the efforts are on to salvage Chopper from the bottom of the sea.
The chopper went down just 1 nautical mile away from the oil rig, This is the third such major incident involving Pawan Hans Helicopters LTD ONGC in the country.
The aircraft is said to have made an emergency landing at about 11:45 AM though the pilots did not send out any distress calls. ONGC in stating said:
“ONGC vessels near the location were mobilized for search and rescue operation…. one person was rescued by lifeboat launched from ONGC Rig Sagar Kiran and four persons were rescued by ONGC stand by vessel Malviya 16, 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 inquiry has been instituted”.
Pawan Hans at present has taken 6 Sikorsky S-76D helicopters from Milestone Aviation Group (Milestone) on lease. Initial investigations show that the weather was bad and the sea had swelled up during the incident.
Talking about the sequence of the day officials said the Chopper took off for a scheduled plan between the oil rig and the Juhu aerodrome, however, when it was 1 -1.5 km before the landing zone the aircraft ditched into the sea and pilots had not issued a distress call before the incident took place.
As soon as the incident was reported ONGC and the Indian coast guard swiftly responded and deployed their vessels and their choppers to the rescue within 90-100 minutes all the passengers were pulled out but 4 of them were declared dead at the hospital.
In a similar incident involving Pawan Hans helicopters and ONGC on January 13, 2018, one of their choppers with 7 passengers on board crashed into the Arabian Sea just a few minutes after taking off, in this incident sadly everyone lost their lives.
ONGC Employees union has demanded that ONGC bans Pawan Hans from flying them.
In another incident, an MI-172 operated by a private operator crashed killing all 26 members on board the chopper. Now until the aircraft is salvaged and the black box is recovered the exact cause of the incident will remain unknown.