Friday, Oct 31, 2003
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By Our Staff Reporter
George Morokky (50), an accounts officer with the Lakshadweep Administration died at hospital after being rescued from the Dauphin 365 N helicopter, which plunged into the sea barely two minutes before it was to land at the Agatti airfield.
The helicopter was operating between Kavaratti and Agatti on week days. Morokky died of his injuries at the Agatti community medical centre.Dr. Katoch (46), his wife Keerthy Katoch (42), helicopter pilot, Commander Khaire Gurung, and the co-pilot, Prahlad Ramesh, were rescued by fishermen.
Dr. Katoch was airlifted to Kochi where he has been admitted to a private hospital. He is "under observation" in the intensive care unit. Ms. Katoch sustained minor injuries.
Dr. Katoch, who has been in charge of the Islands in the Planning Commission, had been in Kavaratti in the past few days on official work. The couple were on their way to board an Indian Airlines flight to Nedumbassery on their way back to Delhi. The Bangaram- Agatti flight takes only seven minutes, but the helicopter crashed two more minutes before touch down.George Morokky, who hails from Kunnamkulam in Thrissur district, was also on his way to New Delhi via Kozhikode for attending the Plan discussions on November 7. He had boarded the helicopter from Kavaratti. Belonging to the Morokky family in Anjoor near Kunnamkulam, he had been an assistant audit officer with the Accountant General's office in Thrissur till he was appointed on deputation as the accounts officer by the Lakshadweep Administration, in July, 2001. Morokky was to take part in some official programmes at Beypore before proceeding to New Delhi on November 4, according to his colleagues at the Lakshadweep Administration office at Kavaratti. The body was taken to Ernakulam by an Indian Airlines plane and kept at the General Hospital for post-mortem tomorrow.
Navy and Coast Guard vessels patrolling the Arabian Sea near Agatti and Bangaram were pressed into service immediately, according to an official release from the Coast Guard. Doctors from the Coast Guard ships, Samar and Vikram, assisted the doctors at the Agatti primary health centre to attend on the survivors.
The two pilots who have sustained minor injuries were taken to Kavaratti by a Coast Guard helicopter.
The fuselage of the crashed helicopter, lying upside down, was recovered by the ship Vikram about one nautical mile from the island.
This was not the first time that accidents have occurred to the aircraft operating from Lakshadweep. In an accident that took place on July 30, 1998, a Dornier aircraft carrying four passengers, including a pregnant woman, and two crew onboard crashed over the Naval Components and Repair Yard in the Naval Base, killing all of them, besides two persons on the ground.
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