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Sunday, Aug 25, 2019

Ghatkopar aircraft crash: A year on, probe report yet to be released

Soon after a private aircraft crashed in Ghatkopar in June 2018, the AAIB had said it would release preliminary findings within a month. However, no report was submitted.

mumbai Updated: Jun 27, 2019 14:05 IST
Neha LM Tripathi
Neha LM Tripathi
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
AAIB officials examine the site where a chartered plane crashed in Mumbai's Ghatkopar on Juen 28, 2018.
AAIB officials examine the site where a chartered plane crashed in Mumbai's Ghatkopar on Juen 28, 2018.(Vijayanand Gupta/HT File Photo )
         

A year after a plane on a test flight crashed into a construction site in Ghatkopar, killing four occupants and a pedestrian, the Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) is yet to release even a preliminary report and no findings have been made public. The AAIB is a division of the civil aviation ministry.

On June 28, 2018, a 12-seater Beechcraft King Air C 90, which had been undergoing repairs since 2015, was on a test flight piloted by Captain Pardeep Singh Rajput, 49, from Delhi and co-pilot Marya Zuberi, 48, from Mumbai. With them in the plane were aircraft maintenance engineer Surbhi Gupta and technician Manish Kumar Pandey, employees of Indamer Aviation Pvt Ltd, which was carrying out the repairs. The aircraft, owned by Mumbai-based UY Aviation Pvt Ltd, crashed around 1.35pm.

Soon after the incident, the AAIB said it would release preliminary findings within a month. However, no report was submitted.

In October 2018, the plane’s black box was sent to engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney in Canada. Pratt & Whitney decoded the black box in a month. In December, a parliamentary report stated the crash report would be released by February 2019, which was expected to include Pratt & Whitney’s findings. But so far, nothing has been made public.

Director general of AAIB Aurobindo Handa said, “It [the case] is under investigation.” He did not comment on the missed deadlines. Aviation department officials close to the investigation said AAIB officials would visit Mumbai in July as part of the investigation. “The AAIB is landing in Mumbai on July 1 and is set to visit Indamer Aviation,” said an official.

So far, the only action taken has been the suspension of Indamer Aviation’s Ahmedabad base and four of their Mumbai-based aircraft following an audit conducted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in July 2018. Their permits are in the process of being restored. Indamer’s chief executive officer Rajeev Gupta said, “One of the two permits (CAR-M and CAR-145) were suspended and we had to get re-certification of both the permits. Re- certification process of CAR-M has been completed and approval for CAR-M has been given. Same process for CAR-145 suspension will be completed by the second week of July.”

Aviation safety expert Mohan Ranganathan said, “Not coming up with a preliminary report is a violation in itself as it is mandatory according to United Nations specialized International Civil Aviation Organisation. In our country safety is not taken seriously, hence there has never been a preliminary report in any accident case.”

First Published: Jun 27, 2019 14:05 IST

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