Faridabad flight broke safety rules
The air ambulance that crashed in Faridabad killing 10 people last Wednesday seriously violated the government's air safety rules and regulations that ban medical evacuation in single-engine aircraft. Tushar Srivastava reports. Piecing a puzzledelhi Updated: May 30, 2011 02:15 IST
The air ambulance that crashed in Faridabad killing 10 people last Wednesday seriously violated the government's air safety rules and regulations that ban medical evacuation in single-engine aircraft.
The aircraft was carrying a patient from Patna who had slipped into coma.
Investigators are zeroing in on the approval given for the controversial flight of the single-engine turbo-prop Pilatus plane that took off from Patna and was headed for Delhi, where the weather was bad.
The flight was in clear violation of the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) laid down by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) —the aviation sector's safety regulator. The CAR regulations have to be adhered to for every flight in the country.
Sunil Gaur, director (operations) of Air Charter Services Private Limited, the firm that owned and operated the air ambulance, however, said the flight was operated according to rules.
DGCA chief EK Bharat Bhushan told HT on Sunday that while details of an enquiry were awaited, there was a clear case of misuse of the plane.
“Operations with single-engine aeroplanes shall be conducted only on domestic sectors except for medical evacuation flights,” the relevant clause of the CAR clearly says.
“There is a CAR and we are looking into the matter. There has been a misuse and all facts would emerge in the inquiry. We are finding out who gave permission for the flight,” the DGCA chief said.
Captain Mohan Ranganathan, a member of the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council, India’s topmost body on aviation safety, told HT that the flight should not have been cleared when there was a storm warning in Delhi. “The pilots are not trained for such weather conditions,” he said.
“Whoever gave permission from the DGCA should be held accountable and taken to task. The officials who gave permission have been thoughtless,” he said. He said small aircraft such as the one that crashed in Faridabad do not have the capability to face strong winds.
He said single-engine aircraft cannot handle sudden emergencies.