The Petroleum Employees Union (PEU) on Tuesday wrote to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) after five ONGC employees died in a Pawan Hans chopper crash on January 13, seeking enhanced safety measures and referred Pawan Hans helicopters as 'flying coffins'.
They have expressed their fears about flying to and from offshore sites on board the state-owned helicopter service.
PEU wrote a letter to ONGC Chairman requesting to appoint high-level internal committee and get first-hand information on working conditions and suggest ways to improve the same.
The letter was written to ONGC Chairman and Managing Director, Shashi Shanker on February 17, more than a month after five senior ONGC officials and two Pawan Hans pilots died after a Dauphin N3 helicopter crashed off the Mumbai coast.
The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) has initiated an inquiry to ascertain the cause of the accident.
"After occurrence of the tragedy, every crew member performing offshore duty and their family members are under tremendous pressure regarding safety of their son/husband/father on offshore duty," the letter said.
ONGC makes at least 15 trips on a daily basis on board Pawan Hans helicopters.
The company also uses the services of two other helicopter companies.
Meanwhile, spokesperson of Pawan Hans T A Dayasagar said, "Subsequent they want a high-level team to investigate the matter. We will always be ready for that. Also, maintenance police is under Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to monitor."
Further assuring employees safety, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said, "We are investigation the matter and we would like to re assure that everyone's safety is important to us."
The PEU letter also cited a 2017 audit, conducted by the DGCA at the Pawan Hans Andaman and Nicobar Islands base, which reportedly found engineering and maintenance deficiencies in the maintenance schedule and problems with the helicopter engines.