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Pawan Hans chopper crash: Pilots still missing, Navy steps in with sonar-equipped vessels

The exact location of the incident was established by an underwater locator beacon.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
November 7, 2015 1:45:23 am
Pawan, Pawan Hans, Pawan Hans crash, helicopter, helicopter crash, mumbai helicopter crash, chopper crash, mumbai chopper crash, mumbai news Parts of the chopper recovered from the sea off Bombay High. (Express Photo)

Over Forty-eight hours have passed and search operations to find the two missing pilots flying the Pawan Hans chopper that crashed Wednesday night have gathered steam. The Indian Navy has stepped in with vessels equipped with sophisticated sonars.

Chief PRO (Defence) Rahul Sinha said, “For now one vessel has begun its search operation. The second vessel will reach the site tomorrow.” He added that an emergency meeting with HAL over the future course of the search had led to a directive to the Indian Navy. The exact location of the incident was established by an underwater locator beacon. Sinha added that the area of the search was being expanded, considering the water current and other determining factors.

Captain E Samuel and Captain T K Guha were on board the chopper when it crashed at around 7.15 pm Tuesday. Sinha said that the timing of the crash marked the “entire dark phase” which generally hindered search operations.

“Survivors have to swim in strong water currents in that scenario,” said Sinha. He also confirmed that more debris of the chopper had been located since Wednesday.

Sinha said that in case of fatalities in such crashes, the bodies began to float up after 48 hours. “Although chances of survival are bleak, we really can’t say anything as the bodies (of the two pilots) have not been found. Given the situation, I will still tell my people to keep looking,” said Sinha.

On Thursday evening, officials had confirmed that sections of fuselage, including a part of the tail of the crashed Dauphin N3 helicopter, had been recovered.

The Navy has received a request from Pawan Hans Ltd for assistance in locating the submerged debris or fuselage. Additional assets with suitable equipment are being deployed for searching and locating it.

“Even the ONGC ships are coordinating with the search teams,” Sinha said, adding that the final search would be for the remnants of the aircraft on the ocean floor.

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