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Jan 13, 9:42 AM EST

Helicopter crashes on way to Indian oil rig, killing 5

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NEW DELHI (AP) -- A helicopter carrying employees of an Indian oil company to an off-shore rig in the Arabian Sea crashed Saturday, killing five people and leaving another two missing, the navy said.

The helicopter was carrying two pilots and five employees of the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Commission from a Mumbai airfield to the oil rig when it disappeared, prompting a search operation, navy spokesman Capt. D. Sharma said. The five bodies were spotted along with debris from the helicopter, Sharma said.

Rescuers on ships found some life jackets and continued to look for the missing people, he said.

The Press Trust of India news agency said the pilot lost contact with the air traffic control soon after take-off on Saturday from Mumbai's Juhu airport.

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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