Five people were killed as a Pawan Hans helicopter with five ONGC employees and two pilots on board crashed off the coast of Dahanu near Mumbai on Saturday morning. As per a press note by the Indian Coast Guard, at about 11:20 am, they received information from the ONGC about a missing helicopter.
A Dornier aircraft was immediately launched from Coast Guard Air Station Daman and reached the area for Search. Certain debris was reported by the aircraft. Further, Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Agrim, on patrolling off Mumbai was diverted to crash site and reached the datum in the afternoon. The ship also reported widespread debris in the area and began search for the missing passengers and crew from aircraft
Four more coast guard ships based at Mumbai (ICGS Samudra Prahari, ICGS Achook, ICGS C-154 and ICGS C-434) apart from ICGS Agrim were pressed into service and reached the datum to widen the search parameter. Further, another two Dornier aircraft (total 3) were deployed to augment search effort.
The search teams from ICGS Agrim were able to locate and recover five bodies from water. Out of the five bodies recovered, two have been identified that of Pankaj Garg and Bindulal Babu. The floating debris was also recovered by the ship. The recovered bodies along with debris have been handed over to ONGC vessel at the crash site for further formalities.
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.
Meanwhile, in an another tragic incident, a boat reportedly carrying reportedly 35 children capsized at sea off Dahanu creek. On receiving the information, Coast Guard Station at Dahanu immediately initiated search and rescue efforts whilst co-ordinating with local authorities.
A Coast Guard boat based at Dahanu and a Coast Guard Helicopter from Daman was launched immediately for rescue. A total of 32 precious lives were saved in the incident and are being provided medical attention by the local authorities.
However, there have been three casualties in the incident, all of them being students who had boarded the fateful boat. Search efforts are still continuing at the location in coordination with local authorities to search for missing students if any.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed grief over the loss of lives in the boat capsize incident off the Dahanu coast and Pawan Hans helicopter crash off the Mumbai coast. “Sad to know about capsizing of boat carrying school children of K L Ponda High School, Dahanu at Dahanu Parnaka Beach. 31 children have been rescued. Search operation is still on with local police and administration,” Fadnavis tweeted.