'Blast' heard on ONGC crew transport chopper

Vol 22, PW 26 (17 Oct 19) Exploration & Production

ONGC is facing another worrying incident after one of its privately contracted helicopters was forced into an emergency landing.

This report learns the Association of Scientific & Technical Officers (ASTO) union at ONGC is calling on chairman Shashi Shanker to launch an urgent inquiry into the latest incident when a helicopter owned by private operator Global Vectra made an emergency landing on September 25 at an unmanned HEERA offshore platform after a "blast" on the left side soon after take-off at 4.30pm. Two days later (September 27) ASTO Mumbai president PN Pathak dispatched a two-page letter to Shanker, seen by this report, citing an eyewitness account by one of the passengers.

"After take-off while taking a right turn suddenly a heavy noise like a blast was observed from left side of the helicopter," says the eyewitness. "The helicopter went down a bit tilting towards right (and) the lead passenger was informed by pilots that we are going to land on an unmanned platform; heavy noise was heard continuously and within 45 seconds, the helicopter landed on the HP unmanned platform."

The 2011-built Bell 412EP helicopter with call sign VT-GVK took off from rig Greatdrill Chaaru at the HI unmanned platform with six on board - three from ONGC and three from a contractor. Pathak calls on Shanker to urgently review ONGC's safety and maintenance procedures and issue detailed guidelines for maintenance including "preventative and corrective measures."