Vijayraghavan panel quizzes ONGC staff over chopper crash

Vol 7, PW 16 (22 Oct 03) News in Brief

For three days to 14th October, the TS Vijayraghavan panel appointed to investigate the 11th August ONGC helicopter crash was in Mumbai interviewing ONGC staff.

PETROWATCH learns panel members TS Vijayraghavan, Major General (Rtd) SC Jatar and Pritam Singh went offshore Mumbai High to the Sagar Kiran rig from where the ill-fated chopper took off before plunging into the sea. Panel members also met survivors Anil Mhatre and VS Mandloi and officials at ONGC's health, safety and environment department.

"They also talked to ONGC staff unions and MESCO (owner of the crashed helicopter)," reveals an ONGC source. "They are doing a very thorough job." Of the 29 people on board, only two survived.

ONGC unions protested vehemently after the crash, picketing oil minister Ram Naik's car when he visited ONGC's helicopter base in Mumbai on 11th August. They also tried to assault ONGC chairman Subir Raha when he visited the base the next day.