A Pawan Hans helicopter, which was heading to ONGC’s north field with seven persons onboard, went missing off the Mumbai coast today, official sources said.
The Indian Navy has deployed a frigate and a surveillance aircraft to locate the missing chopper while the Coast Guard said that “some debris has been located”, but did not elaborate. The chopper, Dauphin N3, bearing registration number VT-PWA, took off from Juhu aerodrome at 10.25 AM, with five ONGC employees and two pilots onboard, they said.
The chopper was scheduled to land at the designated oil rig at Mumbai High at 11 AM, the sources said.
Search operations are on, they added. The Navy said it had deployed its stealth frigate INS Teg for the search operation while surveillance aircraft P8i has also been press into service.
The Coast Guard said that it has diverted ships which were at sea and also those sailing from Mumbai. “A Dornier aircraft and helicopters from Daman (near Dahanu) have also been launched,” a Coast Guard spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that “some debris has been located”, but did not say if it belonged to the chopper.