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25 feared killed in ONGC chopper crash

By Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai
Last updated on: August 11, 2003 19:28 IST
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At least 25 people were feared killed when an MI 172 chopper carrying Oil and Natural Gas Corporation employees and some contractors crashed off the Mumbai coast on Monday afternoon.

The chopper crashed at around 1215 IST shortly after taking off from the Sagar Kiran rig in the Neelam oil field area, 35 km off the Mumbai coast.

Two survivors of the crash were flown to the Juhu helibase in Mumbai along with the bodies of two out of the four crew members, ONGC Director (offshore) V K Sharma said.

The bodies of Capt Jaiswal and Flight Engineer Ravindran have been kept at the base, while the survivors -- S Mandloi
and A J Mhatre -- have been sent home in Navi Mumbai, Sharma said.

The chopper was ownd by Mesco, a private firm.

Union Petroleum Minister Ram Naik has arrived in the city.

Three vessels from the ONGC along with two helicopters and Indian Navy personnel are carrying out search operations for possible survivors.

"A technical team is trying to find the reason for the crash," a MESCO official, who did not wish to be quoted, told
Association of Scientific and Technical Officers working president L K Mirchandani told "We have been calling for chopper safety for a long time and petitioned the ONGC in this regard. They wrote a letter to us saying our demands will be considered."


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