Four dead as ONGC chopper makes emergency landing off Mumbai coast
The chopper, carrying two pilots and seven crew members, was forced to land at sea (using the floaters that are attached to such choppers that carry personnel and material from shore to offshore installations) whilst attempting an emergency landing on an oil platform
Four people were killed after a helicopter belonging to the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) made a controlled emergency landing at sea near the Sagar Kiran oil rig in Bombay High, located about 60 nautical miles west of Mumbai, on Tuesday morning.
All nine people on-board -- two pilots, six ONGC employees and one employee of the public sector oil major’s contractor were safely rescued in an operation that involved the Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy ships and choppers and went on for nearly two hours. Four of those rescued, however, succumbed after they were shifted to a private hospital in Mumbai.
The deceased have been identified as Mukesh Patel, Vijay Mandloi, Satyambad Patra and Sanju Francis.
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According to the Indian Coast Guard, the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) in Mumbai received a distress call from Australian and Indian MCC at about 11.46 am. MRCC traced the alert to a Pawan Hans Helicopter (Sikorsky S-76D) employed for ONGC duties in Bombay High – an area in the Arabian sea where ONGC has several rigs and installations used to produce oil and gas from reservoirs lying below the seabed.
The chopper, carrying two pilots and seven crew members, was forced to land at sea (using the floaters that are attached to such choppers that carry personnel and material from shore to offshore installations) whilst attempting an emergency landing on an oil platform. The MRCC activated the International Safety Net, nearby commercial vessels OSV Malviya-16, OSV Greatship Asmi, OSV ABS Anokhi and OSV Subhaprada were also diverted to the location and within a few minutes an ICG aircraft was launched from the Juhu airbase.
The ICG also diverted ICG ships and a Dornier Aircraft to the spot– about 60 nautical miles west of Mumbai. On an urgent requisition made by the MRCC, the Indian Navy also promptly launched their helicopters for the search and rescue operation.
In challenging weather conditions, the OSV Malviya-16 located and rescued four survivors, while one survivor was rescued by a life boat launched by the nearby ONGC rig Sagar Kiran, said ICG spokesperson, Commandant RK Singh. The rescue operation culminated within two hours with coordinated efforts of all the stakeholders, he added.
Naval Seaking and ALH helicopters recovered four people in critical condition and ferried them to the Juhu airbase from where they were shifted to the Nanavati Hospital for medical management, said defence spokesperson Commandant Mehul Karnik.
All the four were declared brought dead at the hospital, said Geeta Chavan, deputy commissioner of police, port zone. “We are in the process of registering accidental death reports (ADRs),” said the DCP.
Another police officer said the other five rescued from the helicopter were out of danger. The officer added that they were initially treated at an off-shore installation and were being taken to Mumbai.
The ONGC has not responded to queries in connection with the accident.