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Bodies of all ONGC officers found

The coastguard has traced the aircraft voice data recorder of the Pawan Hans helicopter that crashed off the Mumbai coast on Saturday as search vessels fished out one more body from the Arabian Sea.

  • Published 15.01.18
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Mumbai: The coastguard has traced the aircraft voice data recorder of the Pawan Hans helicopter that crashed off the Mumbai coast on Saturday as search vessels fished out one more body from the Arabian Sea.

Six bodies, including those of all the five ONGC officers who had taken off in the chopper and one of the two pilots, have been found so far.

A statement from the oil-exploration firm said the search was on for the remaining one person who was on board, adding the chopper's voice data recorder had been recovered too.

"During the Search and Rescue (SAR) Operations on January 14, 2018, the VDR of the chopper has been recovered. Search operation is on for the remaining debris of the production chopper VT - PWA," it said.

The helicopter, carrying the five officers from the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and the two pilots, had crashed off the Mumbai coast shortly after it had taken off on Saturday morning for the state-owned company's oil installation in the Arabian Sea.

Five bodies were found on Saturday, the coastguard and the navy had said in their statements earlier.

The ONGC statement said the bodies of company officials P.N. Srinivasan, R. Saravanan, Jose Antony and Pankaj Garg, and one of the pilots, Capt. R. Ohatkar, had been identified. "The identification process for the sixth body is still on."

Three of the ONGC executives were deputy general manager-level officers.

A navy spokesperson said two fast interceptor vessels, the INS Tarasa and the frigate INS Teg, were coordinating the search in the area along with coastguard ships (ICGS) Samudra Prahari, Achook and Agrim.

The INS Makar (a twin hulled catamaran hydrography ship) was also en route to the area to augment the search efforts, he said.

The ICGS Samrat has sailed out from Mumbai to join the search, the spokesperson said, adding that nine ONGC vessels had also been deployed apart from coastguard and navy aircraft.

ONGC chairman and managing director Shashi Shanker, who has been steering the search operation from Mumbai, has said a high-level independent investigation will be instituted.