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4 die as ONGC chopper crashes in Arabian sea in bad weather

ONGC's brand new Pawan Hans chopper was heading for Sagar Kiran rig at Bombay High. It managed to stay afloat with the help of floaters to facilitate rescue. Emergency Flotation Systems (EFS) are installed on commercial and military helicopters to prevent sinking while crash-landing on water. Else it goes down in seconds. An MSV is trying to salvage the Pawan Hans' Sikorsky.

MUMBAI, June 28: Four people died when an ONGC helicopter crashed in the Arabian sea on Tuesday. Three of the dead were ONGC employees and the fourth was on contractual job. Four people have been rescued. The chopper was carrying seven passengers and two pilots.

The Pawan Hans helicopter, a new Sikorsky, had made an emergency landing in the sea near its destination, ONGC's Sagar Kiran rig at Mumbai High, about 50 nautical miles from the Mumbai coast at 11:45 am in inclement weather. The chopper had taken off from Juhu helibase. It managed to stay afloat with the help of attached floaters, helping rescuers pull out people. Floaters are attachments arranged for offshore trips. Coast Guard ships and rig's boats are searching for any survivors. The Navy had deployed the Seaking and ALH helicopters and Indian Naval Ship Teg. Coast Guard aircraft also dropped life rafts for survivors.

Four people pulled out were unconscious and airlifted in a Navy chopper to a hospital in Mumbai, where they were declared dead, an official said.

A multi-support vessel (MSV) is trying to salvage the chopper.

There have been several such mishaps in the past. In 2003, a Mi-172 helicopter crashed off the Mumbai coast, killing 27 people. In 2018, a Pawan Hans helicopter with seven people went down killing all.

The ONGC had hired Pawan Hans choppers for its offshore oil and gas production operations. The oil installations are 150 km from the coast.

Pawan Hans had recently leased six Sikorsky S-76D helicopters from Milestone Aviation Group.

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