DGCA probe team visits YSR chopper crash site
An investigation team of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, probing the September 2 helicopter crash that killed Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy and four others, visited the crash site in Kurnool district.india Updated: Sep 09, 2009 22:15 IST
An investigation team of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), probing the September 2 helicopter crash that killed Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy and four others, on Wednesday visited the crash site in Kurnool district.
The four-member team headed by RK Tiyagi, chairman and managing director of Pawan Hans, held a meeting with top officials in Kurnool town and visited the site over a hillock in the dense Nallamalla forests.
Tiyagi told reporters in Kurnool that the probe would be completed as early as possible and the progress in investigations would be posted on a website.
The team will stay in Kurnool for three days. It will visit the crash site on Thursday and Friday to gather scientific clues.
Tiyagi said they would also question the Air Traffic Control (ATC) staff who were in touch with the pilot of the helicopter before they lost the contact.
"We have begun the probe and we already have some information," he said after analysing parts of the helicopter recovered from the site.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary P Ramakanth Reddy and Director General of Police SSP Yadav also visited the crash site and provided information to the DGCA officials.
Speaking to reporters, Ramakanth Reddy said the chopper's Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) was recovered from the spot but it was damaged due to the impact of the crash. "Technical experts will analyse the ELT," he said clearing doubts whether the chopper was equipped with ELT or not.
Indian Air Force helicopters flying over the forests had failed to catch ELT signals.
The state's top bureaucrat said the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) or 'black box' recovered from the wreckage was yet to be decoded. "Some media reports that the pilots spoke to the ATC staff in Hindi are baseless because the material in black box is yet to be decoded," he said.
He said the necessary checking of the chopper was done before flying. "Pilots also spoke to the meteorological office. The pilots had undergone medical checkups before flying. The anti-sabotage checking was also done. It all took 20 minutes and the chief minister spent the time going through some files," he said.
Reddy said Bell 430 was one of the best helicopters and there was no room for any doubts on its airworthiness. He said the government would not stop using such helicopters. "Some helicopters of the Indian Air Force also crashed but the air force did not stop using them," he said.
YSR, as the late chief minister was popularly known, his special secretary, chief security officer and two pilots were killed Sep 2, an hour after he took off from Hyderabad for Chittoor district to launch a mass contact programme.
The helicopter crashed in bad weather minutes after it lost contact with ATC around 9.12 am. The charred bodies of the victims with the wreckage found 24 hours later after one of the biggest searches in India's aviation history involving IAF helicopters, fighter aircrafts like Sukhois and special aircraft of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).