Three die as helicopter crashes in Mumbai, two Malayalees missing

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A Dauphin chopper, VT PWA, with seven people-2 crew memebers and 5 ONGC employees-on board, lost contact with the air traffic controls in Mumbai this morning. "We are working towards finding the chopper at the earliest", a senior ONGC official said.

It was reportedly 30 nautical miles off the western coast before going off-radar. It was scheduled to land at ONGC's North Field oil rig at 10.58 am, but did not, The Indian Express reported.

According to media reports, the chopper was last in touch with the air traffic control around 10.30 am.

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

The Indian Navy has said that a Seaking 42B helicopter has been launched in addition to the two Immediate Support Vehicles (ISV) and three Coast Guard Units. Four aircraft has also been dispatched for the search operation.

The helicopter belongs to state-run company Pawan Hans, which operates a fleet of helicopters for off-shore operations, charter services and ferrying pilgrims to shrines in mountainous areas.

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The ONGC has alerted the Indian Coast Guard about the situation, and a search operation is now underway.

Following the incident, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan spoke to Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

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