Chopper crash off Mumbai coast: 50-year-old was a fine gentleman and workaholic, say friends

Members of Pankaj Garg’s Mumbai society said his family moved there 15 years ago

The family and friends of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) deputy general manager Pankaj Garg fondly remember him a “gentleman who was a workaholic”. Fifty-year-old Garg was among five senior ONGC employees, along with two pilots on-board the Pawan Hans helicopter that crashed in to the Arabian sea on Saturday morning.

The five officers work at three different bases located in ONGC’s north field.

“They usually don’t work on Saturdays, but were called in this time as there was some important work. The helicopter was to drop them at three different platforms — water injection north (WIN), Mumbai north high (MHN) and NQO,” said an ONGC official, who did not wish to be identified.

A Kalina resident, Garg is survived by two daughters — engineering student Rashi, 19, and Class 3 student Ojaswi, 6 — and his wife Anjali, a homemaker. Members of his society said the family moved there 15 years ago.

“He was a fine gentleman who would talk to everyone politely and took part in every activity whenever he was available,” said N L Shetty, chairman of Silver Square Society.

“I met him just two days ago and asked him to become a committee member of the society. He responded with hearty laughter,” Shetty added. Members of the society said that Garg left for work late on Friday, and news of accident came as a shock the next morning.

“He was a workaholic. Since his work involved overseeing operations at offshore ONGC bases, he would get a call even in the dead of night, and a car would be waiting outside for him,” said Joy Francis, secretary of the society.

Friends said that his funeral is likely to take place on Sunday as Garg’s father, a resident of Azamgargh, and Anjali’s parents who live in Varanasi, will only be able to reach the city by then.

Nanavati Hospital, Vile Parle, issued a statement saying six bodies were brought in late on Saturday, all of which were in a “very poor” condition.

A representative of the hospital said the bodies will be transferred to the Cooper Post Mortem Centre after the medico-legal cases have been completed.

“We will ensure that the post mortems are completed overnight and the bodies are handed over to the families immediately, unless they request otherwise. The families are in a state of shock and a further delay might inconvenience them further,” said doctors from Cooper Post Mortem centre.

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