Pawan Hans chopper crash: Body found, but not of pilot
Four days after a Pawan Hans Dauphin chopper crashed into the Arabian Sea off Bombay High, the authorities have found a headless, decomposed body floating near the Neelam platform. However, the body does not belong to either of the two-member flying crew that went down with the chopper into the Sea.
Debris of the Pawan Hans chopper recovered from near ONGC installation in the Bombay High on Thursday. Pic/PTI
On Sunday, at 12.30 pm, ONGC officers spotted the headless body near the platform. Sources said the body was found when one of the investigating teams reached the platform, which is 60 nautical miles away from the suspected crash site. A crew landed on the rough seas — which they claim is a tough thing to do — as the wreckage is at the bottom of the seas, which is nearly 70 metres below.
“The ONGC team after 12 noon located a floating headless body. Soon after the location of the unknown body, the officers checked for its authentication after which a conclusion was drawn that the body did not belong to any of the two pilots,” said a senior official who is part of the investigation.
According to officials, it was concluded that the body did not belong to the any of the pilots; for two reasons: it was found to be near the Neelam platform, which is in the opposite direction to that of the suspected crash area, and most importantly, the body had blue trousers on it.
“The body had blue pants on, whereas both the pilots were in their uniform (white shirt and black pants). Hence, the body found was concluded to be some other. According to standard procedure, the body was sent to the Yellow Gate police station,” said an ONGC official.
The Indian Navy has been concentrating on underwater searches, particularly on locating the pilots; it is also searching for the wreckage that is yet to be found. Preliminary investigations on the basis of the debris found have ruled out the possibility of a mid-air explosion.
In the previous article, mid-day had reported on how the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had debunked the claims made by the pilots at nearby platforms during the crash. A member of the DGCA team investigating the mishap had said, based on the CCTV footage it scrutinised, it can be concluded that the chopper didn’t catch fire.
Rescue operations underway
Meanwhile, as per defence sources, ONGC officials have the maximum ships available for rescue operations and are equally involved in the exercise. Three coastguard ships and four naval ships are on duty to locate the underwater wreckage and pilots.