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Pawan Hans chopper crash: Chances of pilots' survival bleak as search operation continues

Mumbai: 24 hours after a Pawan Hans helicopter with two pilots on board crashed into the Arabian Sea off Mumbai coast, Defence sources said the chances of their survival was "bleak" even as Navy and Coast Guard continued their search and rescue operation.

Captain E Samuel and T K Guha, were the only people onboard the ill-fated aircraft when it crashed at Mumbai High offshore oilfield of the ONGC last evening minutes after lift off for night landing practice.

"The chances of survival of two pilots onboard the ill-fated Pawan Hans helicopter that crashed yesterday are bleak as nearly 24 hours have been passed and Navy and the CG are still searching for them," Defence sources said.

 Pawan Hans chopper crash: Chances of pilots survival bleak as search operation continues

Pawan Hans chopper. IBNLive

"It would be miraculous if the pilots survive, but there is minimal hope of their survival as they are yet to be traced", he said.

Meanwhile, defence officials have started examining the wreckage of the aircraft to look for clues to ascertain the reason behind the crash.

The 14-seater VTPWF Dauphin aircraft of 2001-make had taken off from the ONGC installation at 7:12 PM and contact with it was lost eight minutes later.

Two Immediate Support Vessels of the Navy and ONGC vessels were pressed into service to scour the crash area, about 82 nautical miles off south Mumbai Coast.

"Destroyer 'INS Mumbai' with integral helicopter was also launched to join the search and rescue efforts.

ONGC hires Pawan Hans helicopters to ferry its officials from Mumbai to its offshore oilfield. Meanwhile, a release by Defence PRO issued late evening said, "Navy has received a request from Pavan Hans Limited for assistance in location of the submerges debris/fuselage. Additional assets with suitable equipment are being deployed for searching and locating the submerged debris".

"The operation will depend on assessment of underwater structures present in the area," it added. Meanwhile, Indian Coast Guard (ICG) said that Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) Mumbai is coordinating the efforts between ships and aircraft engaged in search of the two missing pilots.

"Advisory regarding the accident has been issued by the MRCC (Mumbai) to all ships," said a release.

Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Vijit along with integrated Advance Light Helicopter has arrived today and joined search efforts with ICGS Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, ICGS Achook, one ICG Dornier, 3 vessels of Indian Navy and 9 Support Vessels from Oil Platforms.

Two survey vessels, CG said, are engaged in underwater and seabed mapping for locating the wreckage of helicopter and a diving support vessel is carrying out underwater search.

"Another merchant vessel received echo of ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) transmission 2.7 NM south west of suspected crash site," it added.

"ICGS Vijit is requested to divert Furgo mapper to undertake sonar scan in new area," the defence official said.

PTI

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Updated Date: Nov 06, 2015 09:03:04 IST