Pawan Hans chopper crash: Wife identifies co-pilot's body

TK Guha’s wife Ruma identified the body based on the wristwatch and car keys found in his pocket

A day after a body was extracted from the wreckage of a Pawan Hans Dauphin chopper off Bombay High, it has been confirmed to be that of co-pilot TK Guha. Though it was in a highly decomposed state, Guha’s wife Ruma identified the body on the basis of items recovered from it — a wristwatch and car keys.

Co-pilot T K Guha (above) was practising night landing under Pilot E Samuel’s supervision when the Dauphin chopper crashed into the Arabian Sea last Wednesday
Co-pilot T K Guha (above) was practising night landing under Pilot E Samuel’s supervision when the Dauphin chopper crashed into the Arabian Sea last Wednesday

Following the identification, Guha’s body was despatched to JJ Hospital for post-mortem around 9.30 am. As per the family’s request, the body was kept in the morgue last night. The body will reach the Pawan Hans office around 11.30 am today so friends and colleagues can pay their tribute, following which the last rites will be performed at the adjacent crematorium.

Speaking to mid-day, a member of the DGCA team investigating the crash said, “Though the wreckage was located on Sunday night, we wanted to be sure that it was of the [Pawan Hans Dauphin] chopper we were searching. Hence, the confirmation came on Monday.

After the Navy handed over the reins of the operation to us, ONGC divers were sent down to inspect the wreckage. It was they who confirmed that a body was found in the cockpit, with the seatbelt on.”

Commenting on the search operation, a Navy officer said, “The wide search had commenced on the basis of datum (last position of the aircraft as per ONGC radars present in the area), after which all the vessels and ONGC ships joined the rescue procedure. A sensor from INS Makar was released into the water. It picked up signals from the suspected [Dauphin] wreckage. After studying the dimensions, it was declared to be that of the said chopper.”

The autopsy report
The autopsy was performed by a panel of three doctors from the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Grant Medical College and JJ Hospital.

The procedure, which lasted two hours (from noon to 2 pm), was performed and recorded in the presence of a DGCA doctor. Speaking to mid-day, one of the forensic surgeons said the body had disintegrated to such an extent that even the internal organs showed signs of decomposition.

“We have preserved samples to ascertain if the death was due to drowning, and also to perform a DNA test as the body was completely disfigured.”

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