8 die in twin tragedies in sea off Mumbai

Chopper ferrying ONGC staff crashes into sea; a boat with 36 students overturns when they lean to one side for selfie

Published: 14th January 2018 02:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th January 2018 08:37 AM   |  A+A-

Indian Coast Guard officials search for missing persons in the sea | PTI

By Express News Service

MUMBAI: In twin tragedies, five people died after a Pawan Hans Helicopter ferrying ONGC officials from Bombay High oil field crashed into the sea off Mumbai, while at least three students died and one is missing after a boat carrying 36 students overturned when all of them leaned on one side to pose for a selfie.

According to ONGC statement, five bodies from the helicopter were recovered till around 7 pm, when the operations were suspended due to low visibility. Two Indian Coast Guard (ICG) helicopters, two Dornier aircraft and five ships along with navy and ONGC boats and planes carried out rescue operations.

The Pawan Hans helicopter carrying five senior ONGC officials and two pilots was on a regular sortie to the Bombay High oilfields, around 175 km northwest from Mumbai. It took off from the Juhu Helibase at around 10.06 am and went missing at around 10.40 am.

The helicopter was around 55 km off the Mumbai coast at the time of its last contact with the air traffic control. Chopper was reportedly trying to return to Juhu after flying about 30 miles.

“ICG choppers located wreckage of the Pawan Hans helicopter near Dahanu while ICG ship Agrim picked up five bodies. Two bodies were that of the ONGC officials. They have been identified as Pankaj Garg and Bindulal Babu,” said Coast Guard Commander Western Seaboard and Additional Director General Krishnaswamy Natarajan.

Sources added that while Garg’s body was identified by his identity card, Babu’s was identified through his driving license found in the wallet. The other three passengers on-board the ill-fated aircraft are Sarvannan, Jose Anthony and P Shrinivasan.

ONGC chairman and managing director Shashi Shanker rushed to Mumbai to closely track the search operation, the company said, adding that the reason for the crash is yet to be ascertained.

In the meanwhile, three students died and one girl Sanskruti Mayavanshi went missing after the boat that had taken a group of junior college students from K L Ponda School and Junior College of Parnaka in Dahanu, about 130 km North of Mumbai, on a joy ride, capsized at around 11.30 am.

A total of 29 students were treated at the local hospital before being sent home, while three of the boat owners Dheeraj, Ganpat and Mahendra Ambire have been arrested under various charges including negligence, taking more passengers than the capacity of the boat and not having any security equipment on the boat.  Nine students in the Dahanu boat disaster had gone directly to their homes after being rescued.

Unfortunate incidents
The Pawan Hans helicopter carrying five senior ONGC officials was on a regular sortie to the Bombay High oilfields, around 175 km northwest from Mumbai
It took off from the Juhu Helibase at around 10.06 am and went missing at around 10.40 am
It was to reach the oil field at 10.58 am, Navy officials had said earlier in the day
Meanwhile, nine students in the Dahanu boat disaster have gone directly to their homes after being rescued. Only one girl - Sanskruti Mayavanshi is missing, police said
A total 29 students were treated at the local hospital before being sent to homes

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