Mumbai: A massive search operation is on to locate two missing pilots of a Pawan Hans Ltd helicopter which crashed into the Arabian Sea around 80 nautical miles off south Mumbai, officials said on Thursday.
Members of the search operation have recovered a portion of the door of the ill-fated chopper which crashed on Wednesday evening around two nautical miles away from the SLQ Oil rig.
The 14-seater Pawan Hans Dauphin AS 365-N3 had two pilots on board on a night landing training mission. The cause of the crash is yet to be determined.
The names of the pilots are: commander E. Samuel and co-pilot T. K. Guha, both living at the PHL residential complex in Mumbai.
According to the current situation, two Indian Coast Guard ships were diverted to the area, and also a helicopter carrying ship was dispatched from Porbandar port. Two Dornier choppers from Daman and Porbander were launched earlier on Thursday.
After the crash, Indian Navy’s Immediate Supply Vessels T48a nd T50, a naval destroyer INS Mumbai, a night capable helicopter Seaking C and other vessels were rushed to the area to trace the missing chopper, but rescue operations were hampered due to the morning haze.
A government undertaking, the PHL currently has nearly four dozen big and small helicopters in its fleet and is engaged in providing support services to the oil sector’s off-shore operations, services to remote hilly areas and tourist charters.