Bodies from copter crash site recovered

Four days after a naval helicopter with four men on board crashed into waters off Visakhapatnam coast, rescue teams on Saturday retrieved bodies of an officer, a sailor and the helicopter wreckage from a depth of 60 mt in the Bay of Bengal.

The deceased were identified as Lieutenant Commander Pranav Likithi and sailor GS Sen, according to a release issued by the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam.
The other two persons who were on that ill-fated chopper – one commodore (pilot) and a diver – were rescued on the same day itself. They are undergoing treatment at naval hospital INHS Kalyani.

The accident occured in the fateful afternoon when a Chetak helicopter of the navy took off from the INS Dega, the naval air station. It was on a routine training mission when it plunged into water in an area about 10 nautical miles (18 km) seaward off Visakhapatnam. The search and rescue was initiated after air traffic control lost contact with the helicopter at 3:30 PM, and the Chetak failed to return to base at the estimated time.

The Navy has mounted an search in and around the exercise area with ships, helicopters and divers to locate remaining survivors and the wreckage. Assistance of the Port authorities and local fishing community were also sought.

A multi purpose off shore chartered vessel Olympic Canyon used by Reliance Industries Limited also was deployed the salvaging operations.

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