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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Pawan Hans chopper crash in Mumbai: DNA tests will confirm identity of 2 victims

Navy personnel find a body, parts, identities yet to be ascertained

mumbai Updated: Jan 15, 2018 00:10 IST
Sadaguru Pandit
Sadaguru Pandit
Hindustan Times
The wife of Captain Ramesh Ohatkar performs the last rites at Vile Parle on Sunday.
The wife of Captain Ramesh Ohatkar performs the last rites at Vile Parle on Sunday.(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

While bodies of five of the seven people on board a Pawan Hans helicopter that crashed off Mumbai coast on Saturday have been identified, the Navy personnel have found a body and body parts from the search area.

“We got a call around 7.30pm about the seventh body being found,” said Shantanu, senior inspector, Santacruz police station.

Officials from Nanavati hospital said it will be taken to Cooper hospital, after which it will be sent for post-mortem.

The helicopter, which crashed minutes after it took off from Juhu aerodrome, was carrying two pilots and five Oil and Natural Gas (ONGC) officials to the Bombay High offshore oil field.

Forensic experts said only DNA tests can confirm which body is of VK Bindu Lal Babu, deputy general manager, ONGC; and which one of Captain VC Katoch, co-pilot of the helicopter.

Friends and families of the victims were at Nanavati Hospital, where the bodies were being brought since Saturday evening. While Garg’s body was identified using the ONGC identity card, the rest were ascertained with body marks, jewellery and clothes.

In their official statement released earlier on Sunday, ONGC spokesperson said bodies of PN Srinivasan, R Saravanan, Jose Antony, Pankaj Garg and Captain Ramesh Ohatkar (pilot of the helicopter) have been identified. “The identification process for the sixth body is still on,” the statement issued earlier read.

A senior official from Pawan Hans said after initial identification of bodies at Nanavati, Babu’s wife was again called to the post-mortem centre on Sunday morning.

Forensic experts from Dr RN Cooper Municipal General Hospital’s post-mortem centre said the bodies of the victims were brought from Nanavati Hospital after the identification and police documentation started at 12.30am. The body parts of two of the victims were sent for autopsy.

“All the bodies were in fragmented state and had multiple fractures, deep cuts and other injuries. We suspect some of them were hit by the rotor blades of the helicopter. None of them had burns so occurrence of a blast is ruled out,” said experts.

“We have sent hair and skin samples of the victims to the Kalina Forensic Laboratory for DNA testing. Final identification will only take place once the laboratory submits its findings,” said experts.

First Published: Jan 14, 2018 20:57 IST