The country's aviation safety regulator on Tuesday asked Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited (PHHL) to ground two of its pilots owing to an alleged safety lapse pending an inquiry.
According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) preliminary investigation report, on December 10, the pilots ferrying oil workers made an unscheduled landing at an oilrig in Bombay High after they realised that the door of the helicopter was left open.
The chopper carrying three passengers took off from an oilrig named BC Fossil but soon after getting airborne the pilot received a cockpit warning indicating that the door was not shut. As a result, the Juhu aerodrome-bound chopper made an emergency landing at BLQ2 another oilrig at the offshore oilfield 160 kilometres off the Mumbai coast.
"It is a serious safety lapse. The cockpit crew involved in the incident cannot perform flight duty until the investigation is completed," said a senior DGCA official requesting anonymity.
According to the DGCA's standard safety procedure, helipad staff should ensure that chopper doors are properly shut before they signal the pilot for take-off. The pilots too should check the same before they start the engine.
Last August in Arunachal Pradesh, Dhananjay Roy, a cabin crew personnel working with PHHL fell to death on duty because the door of the airborne helicopter was open.
"Shutting the doors is a basic exercise. Cabin staff cannot be callous about these functions," said another DGCA official.
A spokesperson from Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited (PHHL) told HT that they would comment on the matter but did not get back to the reporter till the time of going to press.