Mumbai chopper crash’s death toll rises to six

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MUMBAI: Searchers have recovered two more bodies from the wreckage of a helicopter that crashed off India’s west coast, taking the death toll to six, an official said Sunday.

The helicopter went down Saturday shortly after take-off from the country´s financial capital Mumbai with two pilots and five employees of India´s state oil and gas firm ONGC.

“So far the hospital has said that six bodies have been recovered from the crash. One person is still missing,” BP Sharma, chairman of state helicopter company Pawan Hans that leased the aircraft, told AFP.

“Search and rescue operations continued overnight and are still underway. More parts of the helicopter have also been found.”

The helicopter lost contact with air traffic control at around 10:30 am roughly 40 nautical miles off the west coast of India above the Arabian Sea.

It was supposed to land at the offshore oil rig Bombay High at 11:00 am.

Images from the Indian navy Sunday showed rescue crews near floating debris. Divers were to search for the missing passenger, the navy said.

The navy and coast guard had sent ships and planes Saturday to search for the downed helicopter.

India´s civil aviation minister said air crash investigators would launch an inquiry.

ONGC, India´s top oil producer, has oil and gas fields off the coast of Mumbai.

Pawan Hans helicopters routinely ferry ONGC employees and officers to Bombay High, some 160 kilometres (100 miles) offshore.

In 2015 a Pawan Hans chopper crashed after taking off from the oil rig and killed two pilots.