Seven passengers and two pilots were aboard a helicopter that crashed into the Arabian Sea today as it tried to land at the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) Sagar Kiran rig near Mumbai High, killing four persons. After successful rescue efforts, all nine persons were recovered, although four have now been identified as dead. Five others rescued are undergoing medical treatment.
According to news agency PTI, the helicopter, which was forced to land using the floaters connected to choppers that transport people and materials from the beach to offshore operations, had six ONGC employees and one contractor employee on board. Three of the four who died were ONGC employees. While, the fourth one was working on a contract with the oil company.
The four persons were declared brought dead at the Nanavati Hospital. The deceased were identified as Mukesh Patel, Vijay Mandloi, Satyambad Patra and Sanju Francis.
When the incident occurred, the chopper was attempting to land at the rig, which was situated around 111 kilometres west of the Mumbai coast. The chopper crashed into the ocean about 1.5 kilometres from the landing area on the rig, according to an official. Although, the reason of the crash is not yet clear.
According to officials, at least one person was saved by a rescue boat from the Sagar Kiran oil site, which is close to where the chopper made its emergency landing. Five people were rescued by Offshore Supply Vessel Malviya-16 which was diverted by MRCC Mumbai to join rescue operations.
A Coast Guard ship at sea was redirected to the area, while a second ship proceeded out from Mumbai to assist in rescue efforts. A life raft for survivors was dropped by a Coast Guard plane, officials said.
The Mumbai-based Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) has activated the International Safety Net (ISN). According to sources, the Coast Guard is collaborating with the Indian Navy and ONGC to mobilise and bolster the rescue operation.
The helicopter was a Pawan Hans Sikorsky S-76 that had just been rented.
In order to extract oil and gas from reserves beneath the seabed, ONGC operates multiple rigs and sites in the Arabian Sea.