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The Latest: 27 'die' in copter crash

Three people were killed and 24 went missing and feared dead after a helicopter carrying staff of Oil and Natural Gas Commission went down in Arabian Sea on August 11, 2003.

india Updated: Aug 12, 2003 18:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

Relatives and ONGC employees surround an ambulance carrying the body of a crash victim after it reached a helipad in Mumbai.

Three people were killed and 24 went missing and were feared dead after a helicopter carrying employees of the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) went down in the Arabian Sea August 11, 2003.

There were two survivors at the time of going to press. Three bodies have been recovered. The rescue operations are being carried out by the Coast Guard, Navy and ONGC.

The crash occurred two minutes after the helicopter, operated by Mesco Aviation Company, took off from the oil rig Sagar Kiran at Bombay High. It crashed into the sea around 77 km off the Mumbai coast. The helicopter, with a crew of four, was bringing ONGC engineers and officials to its Juhu helibase after their shift.

Experts have ruled out bad weather or overloading as causes of the accident. Mumbai had clear skies when the helicopter took off and the chopper had a capacity of 30.

The dead include captain BS Jaiswal and flight engineer Ravindran. Sources said finding survivors will be difficult as rescue operations are difficult at night. With each passing hour, the chances of finding survivors recede and the prospect of bodies being washed further away from the coast increases.

ONGC has refused to speak to the families of those on board the chopper and are guarding the identity of the body of an ONGC official recovered.

Petroleum Minister Ram Naik, who arrived here after the accident, has ordered an inquiry. The minister said the helicopter, which was nine years old, was issued an airworthiness certificate in April this year by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

First Published: Aug 12, 2003 15:58 IST