INDIA. MUMBAI: Four persons died, while five others survived when a Pawan Hans helicopter operating for the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) ditched 50 nautical miles, about 100 km off Mumbai Coast on Tuesday.
“I am deeply saddened and mourn the loss of four hardworking members of the ONGC Limited family- Shri Mukesh Patel Ji, EE(E), Shri Vijay Mandloi Ji, EE(M), Shri Satyambad Patra Ji, Geologist & contract worker Shri Sanju Francis Ji- in a tragic helicopter accident off the coast of Mumbai today.” My heartfelt condolences go out to the bereaved families for their tragic loss. “In this hour of grief, we stand with them,” Union Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted.
A Pawan Hans Sikorsky 76D helicopter ditched near the drilling rig Sagar Kiran in Mumbai High offshore platform. Ditching is a controlled emergency landing carried out by helicopter pilots on water. Those on board were: engineers -M Shyamsundar, Mukesh Patel, and Vijay Mandloi and others- Pradeep Vasudeo, chemist Ranajit Mal, geologist Satyambad Patra and room boy Sanju Francis and two crew members.
The helicopter VT PWI ( S 76 D) took off from Juhu at 10.54 am for the Sagar Kiran ONGC rig. The Pawan Hans operations room at Juhu airport was informed by the operations room of ONGC at 11.45 am that the helicopter had ditched at sea. The aircraft was a brand new Sikorsky S 76 D with the call sign VT- PWI. It crashed near the “Sagar Kiran” oil rig on Mumbai High Offshore platform.
Initially, in the rescue operations, all 09 passengers were rescued by the Indian Coast Guard. Of these, three ONGC employees and both crew members were saved. However, unconscious three ONGC employees and one temporary ONGC worker were taken to BMC’s Cooper Hospital located at Vile Parle West in northwest Mumbai. However, they were declared dead before admission. The Juhu airport Director (Airport Authority of India) A K Verma said.
The helicopter was forced to land using the floaters attached to choppers that carry personnel and material from shore to offshore installations. The helicopter attempted to land at the rig when the incident occurred. The helicopter fell into the sea, about 1.5 km from the landing zone on the rig.
Soon after the mishap, the Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), Mumbai of the Indian Coast guard, diverted the Ocean Support vessel “Malviya 16”. The MRCC also activated the International Safety Net. Similarly, the Indian Navy sent a “Sea King” helicopter, an advanced light helicopter with harness and divers. A Defence spokesman said the vessel threw life rafts from helicopters for survivors.
“A helicopter carrying nine (9) people on board, including two pilots, made an emergency landing on the Arabian Sea around 11.45 am today, one nautical mile away from the ONGC offshore rig Sagar Kiran.” “The Regional Contingency Plan (west) (RCP) was activated immediately, and the Indian Navy and Coast Guard were informed of the incident,” according to an ONGC statement.
Search and rescue operations were launched by ONGC vessels nearby. One person was rescued by a lifeboat launched from the ONGC Rig Sagar Kiran, and the ONGC stand-by vessel Malviya-16 rescued four others. Despite the inclement weather, the rescue operations were completed quickly.
The Navy also dispatched vessels and a helicopter, while the Coast Guard diverted vessels and an aircraft. Four people who had been rescued by a Navy helicopter were brought to the base unconscious and taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, they were unable to survive. The tragic loss of life profoundly saddens ONGC. ONGC is reaching out to affected families and offering all assistance possible. An investigation has been launched, according to the ONGC.
ONGC has several rigs and installations in the Arabia Sea that are used to produce oil and gas from reservoirs lying below the seabed.