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Pawan Hans chopper crash: Captain Ohatkar had flying experience of 15,000 hours

Ohatkar, 58, was to retire in two years. He is survived by his mother, wife and daughter and was planning to spend his retired life in Pune.

mumbai Updated: Jan 15, 2018 13:59 IST
Neha LM Tripathi
Neha LM Tripathi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Pawan Hans chopper,helicopter crash
A closed one breaks down during Ohatkar’s cremation.(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

As friends, family and colleagues gathered at the Juhu crematorium for the last rites of Captain Ramesh Ohatkar, who was killed in the Pawan Hans chopper crash on Saturday, they remembered the pilot as one of the most experienced in the industry.

Ohatkar, 58, was to retire in two years. He is survived by his mother, wife and daughter and was planning to spend his retired life in Pune. A relative said, “He was very particular about his work. He travelled to Pune to meet his daughter on weekends.”

Ohatkar’s colleagues at Pawan Hans remember him as a person who had good rapport with junior staff and got along well with everyone in the company. He had served the company for 28 years and had a flying experience of around 15,000 hours.

Colleagues could not help compare him to Captain Eeso Samuel, another pilot who died in a helicopter crash in the same area in November 2015. Experts said that as helicopter pilots have short duration flights unlike airline pilots, an experience of around 12,000 hours is considered good. “Captain Ohatkar was one of the most experienced in the country,” said a Pawan Hans official.

The family of Captain VC Katoch, the other helicopter pilot, who is still missing, arrived in Mumbai from Chandigarh on Sunday morning. Captain Katoch’s wife and two daughters did not speak to the media, requesting privacy, but they are reported to have told friends and neighbours that they are positive about Katoch’s wellbeing.

PN Sreenivasan, who lived in the ONGC residential colony at Bandra Reclamation and worked as deputy general manager, was cremated at Mukti Dham Cemetery in Chakala on Sunday afternoon.

ONGC’s chairman and managing director (CMD), who reached Mumbai to oversee the search operations, said a high-level independent investigation will be instituted to ascertain the cause. The company spokesperson said, “The recovered bodies of ONGC executives, after necessary procedures, have been handed over to the family members and two families have taken the bodies to their native places for last rites as desired by the family. The ONGC is extending all possible help to the bereaved families in this hour of grief and crisis.”

The company said the ONGC, Coast Guard and Indian Navy are looking for one missing person.

The Aircraft Accident Investigation of Bureau (AAIB) team arrived Mumbai on Sunday morning after which they left to visit the spot where the mishap took place. They were accompanied by the ONGC and Pawan Hans officials.

First Published: Jan 14, 2018 21:24 IST