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Pawan Hans chopper crash: Technical snag likely cause, say top officials

According to top officials close to the investigation, the Pawan Hans helicopter crash could be a result of technical snag.

mumbai Updated: Jan 16, 2018 00:15 IST
Neha LM Tripathi
Neha LM Tripathi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Pawan Hans chopper crash,helicopter
Coast Guard personnel at the site.(HT FILE)

Was Saturday’s crash a result of a snag?

According to top officials close to the investigation, the Pawan Hans helicopter crash could be a result of technical snag.

“Although the exact problem will be known only after studying the black box, one of the possible causes could be automatic system failure of the helicopter at low height, which probably did not give the pilot time to react, resulting in a crash,” said an official from Coast Guard.

Officials claimed two engines of the helicopter were recovered, ruling out the theory that the engines caught fire.

Officials said the helicopter had completed its G-inspection, which takes place after completion of 5400 hours, and was under T-inspection which is conducted after completion of 6000 hours, before it flew for north field in the Bombay high.

BP Sharma, chairman and managing director (CMD) of Pawan Hans, remained unavailable for comment.

“We have found 85% of the wreckage and it will be brought to Pawan Hans and re-assembled. Nothing apart from the last location of the helicopter is known as of now. Any one speaking about the cause of accident at this stage is just a wild guess,” said Daya Sagar, executive director (rechnical), Pawan Hans.

The public sector undertaking (PSU) consists safety department comprising barely five people. Top officials from Pawan Hans headquarters in Delhi confirmed the head of safety role has been given to general manager of northern region as additional charge.

Ex-Air Force and aviation expert Vipul Saxena said, “Looking at the records of Pawan Hans, safety and quality seem under stress of production targets. Ideally, they should be independent of other functions. This calls for serious introspection as Pawan Hans is a PSU directly under the civil aviation ministry and more so the DGCA is a member of its board.”

Another expert said that pilots and engineers in pawan hans are discontented that there is no financial settlement done by the management and the posts that are meant only for the pilots are been given to people from various other departments. “There is no compromise. We are getting the audits done as per standard safety measure,” Sagar said.

One of the officials from the company said, “No one from the management has been held responsible for the thirteen accidents that took place from 2010 to 2017 across the country. Officers in the higher management have been appointed without cross-checking their background.”

“Neither has there been any follow-up on recommendations of previous inquiries, nor have any heads been rolled despite the fatal accidents in the past. There has been no revision of salaries of pilots and engineers since 2008. A large number of experienced pilots have left the company,” said another official.

A senior official said Pawan Hans plans to come up with a preliminary report on the accident in a fortnight and also is firm in implementing recommendations from the aviation regulator.

First Published: Jan 16, 2018 00:04 IST