Mumbai: In an extensive search operation, jointly conducted by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy, the Aircraft Voice Data Recorder (VDR) of the Pawan Hans helicopter, which crashed off the Mumbai coast on January 13, has been recovered.
So far, six bodies, including one of the two pilots of the ill-fated helicopter, have been found in the Search and Rescue (SAR), while the search is on for one more missing person.
The bodies of ONGC officials, P N Srinivasan, R Saravanan, Jose Antony, Pankaj Garg and one of the pilots Capt. R Ohatkar, have been identified. The identification process for the sixth body is still on.
Meanwhile, the recovery of the remaining debris of the production chopper VT – PWA is in progress.
A total of 16 ships, two from the Indian Navy, five from the Indian Coast Guard, and nine from ONGC have been on task all day.
Four aircraft have also been deployed.
ONGC and Coast Guard vessels: CG-268, CG-241, CG-314, Suriya-3, and CG-769, Samudra Sevak, HAL Anant, TAG-20, TAG 17, TAG-15, OSVs LJ Johnson and BS Negi and Ocean Crewser-III have been relentlessly combing the area.
The ONGC search operation is being steered by the top management led by its Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Shashi Shanker.
Shanker, who has been camping in Mumbai to oversee the search operations as well as ensuring all supports for the bereaved families, has stated that a high-level independent investigation will be immediately instituted to ascertain the reasons.
The recovered bodies of ONGC executives, after necessary procedures, have been handed over to the family members and two families have taken the bodies to their native places for last rites.
The helicopter, which took off from Juhu at 10.20 am on Saturday, was scheduled to land at ONGC’s North Field oil rig at 10.58 am.
The last contact with the Air Traffic Control (ATC) was made at about 10.30 am, 30 nautical miles off Mumbai.
The cause of the tragic incident is still unknown. (ANI)