“We have grown up watching planes fly over our houses, never thought something like this could have happened here,” said Rajinder Singh, 31. For Singh and other residents and commuter of Shahbad Mohammadpur near Dwarka Sector 8, a quiet morning turned into a panic situation.
Their bigger fear is what if the accident were to happen again with a bigger aircraft.
“The first thing that came to our mind was that it was only a part of a plane that had crashed, and we feared that the rest might have fallen somewhere else. There would have been a much bigger tragedy had it been a commercial or a cargo plane,” said Singh.
Eyewitnesses said the incident happened within seconds. Some mistook it to be a car crash. “We initially thought an SUV had crashed into the airport wall. A closer look cleared everything,” said Jaiprakash, a tea vendor.
He said the plane crashed into the wall with such intensity that the debris could be seen even 100 metres away. “There was plane debris everywhere and we could not believe what had just happened,” said Jaiprakash.
According to eyewitnesses, the plane first brushed a tree on its way back to the airport before skidding on the roads and finally crashing into the airport wall.
“People tried to rush towards the accident site although by the time anyone could reach, the entire area was on fire and we could see no one near the wreckage,” said Satish Kumar, 25, resident of Shahbad Mohammadpur.
The passersby added that the aircraft was completely charred within minutes, small parts of the plane continued to burst raising fears of a possible explosion which also delayed the relief work.
“The smoke from the fire could be seen from half a kilometre away. Even though the emergency services arrived very quickly they moved slowly to make sure that there was no further casualty,” said Ajeet Jha, 29-year-old, a commuter.
Jha said that the skid marks on the road and wreckage hinted that no one could have survived the crash. “The plane debris was completely scattered around the place. It was difficult to differentiate between the people and parts of the plane, everything was completely charred,” said Jha.