ONGC chopper crash: International body to audit flight safety system of Mumbai aerodrome

Pawan Hans said an international agency will conduct the audit to ensure that all safety guidelines are being followed correctly

mumbai Updated: Mar 12, 2018 11:47 IST
Neha Tripathi
Neha Tripathi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Pawan hans,ONGC
The Pawan Hans helicopter crashed on January 13, killing five ONGC deputy general managers and two pilots. (HT FILE)

Two months after a Pawan Hans helicopter crashed into the Arabian Sea, killing seven people — two pilots and five Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) employees, the existing flight safety system will be audited soon.

The primary investigation into the crash was conducted by Rotary Wings Society of India (RWSI).

Pawan Hans said an international agency will conduct the audit to ensure that all safety guidelines are being followed correctly.

The audit will also find out if more stringent safety systems are to be put in place.

While Pawan Han’s chairperson and managing director (CMD) BP Sharma did not respond to this newspaper’s request for a comment, an official privy to the investigation said the helicopter service
provider has written to five international agencies and is in the process to shortlist one of them.

The official said, “We had asked for financial quotes from five international agencies. They have all sent their quotes. We will be finalising one of them soon after which the safety compliance audit will be conducted.” Officials from Pawan Hans said that Airbus Helicopters is among the agencies.

After the Pawan Hans helicopter crashed into the sea carrying two pilots and five ONGC deputy general managers on January 13, ONGC employees were worried about the safety of the operations.

The ONGC is among the major user of Pawan Hans’s services, using their helicopters to ferry staff and material to their offshore oil fields in Bombay High, which is located off the Mumbai coast.

To find out if Pawan Hans has been following all safety parameters set by aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the ONGC had approached RWSI to conduct a technical audit of all its service providers. The audit report said that all standard operating procedures were followed on the January 13 operation.

RWSI is a third party non-profit aviation body. While there were speculations on Pawan Hans finalising an international agency for the second audit, senior officials insisted that the second audit was a result of proactive approach in order to have better safety system in place. According to Pawan Hans, they had last conducted an audit last year which was done by SGS Aviation Compliance which has sent its quote this time as well.

First Published: Mar 12, 2018 11:47 IST