Chopper with 7 on board goes missing off Mumbai coast

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A Pawns Hans chopper carrying five ONGC employees in it has gone missing after takeoff from Juhu airport, on Saturday. "We are working towards finding the chopper at the earliest". Three bodies have been recovered, Coast Guard said.

Based on the information received, the chopper which had two pilots and five passengers did not land at the designated oil rig.

The last contact with the Air Traffic Control (ATC) was made at around 10.30 am, 30 nautical miles off Mumbai.

India Today TV reported that three ships and three helicopters are involved in a large-scale search and rescue operation, which is underway.

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Coast guard PRO said ships which were at sea have been diverted to the site of mishap and ships are also sailing from Mumbai . In addition, the Coast guard vessels and Dornier aircraft has been deployed for the rescue operations.

The chopper was headed to the Mumbai High offshore airfields, initial reports said.

The Coast Guard and the Navy has been alerted and a search operation has been launched to locate the chopper - a VTPWA Dauphin AS 365 N3 - and its passengers.

Meanwhile, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan tweeted, "Spoke to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman & requested for help from Coast Guard and other agencies in the search and rescue operations; CMDONGC has rushed to Mumbai".