Investigations underway into Indian plane crash
May 22, 2010 by Post Team
The flight from Dubai surpassed the track coming in to land near the southern city of Mangalore and fell into a steep forested ravine where it burst into flames.
Only eight people survived when the plane broke up and caught fire. Survivors told of fleeing amid scenes of horror and death, crawling or being carried from the burning wreckage.
Many of the victims were Indian workers returning from jobs in the Persian Gulf. Some had not seen their families for over a year.
India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation is trying to determine the cause of the accident, which is the country’s worst civil aviation disaster in 14 years.
The Indian aviation minister, Praful Patel, said he feels morally responsible and deeply saddened by the accident.
After returning to New Delhi of the accident Mr. Patel informed the prime minister, Manmohan Singh, on the disaster.
He later told reporters that as head of civil aviation is very sad and a great sense of anguish, but refused to confirm reports that he had submitted his resignation.
“I have conveyed my deep sense of anguish to the prime minister,” he said.
“I also feel personally morally responsible for that one so sad and tragic incident that has taken place.”
Patel said that the plane’s pilot was “very experienced” and suggested a short runway overrun area could have contributed to the disaster.
He said that the chief pilot Z. Glusica – officially identified as a Serb nationality – had logged over 10,000 flight hours and was familiar with the track table, having landed there almost 20 times in the past.
Saying landing conditions had been fair to good visibility, said the security arena area surrounding the runway where an overshoot was shorter than at certain airports.
“Mangalore is not much of an [overflow area and] in this case apparently was not able to stop the plane,” said Patel.
“We can certainly say preliminary results on the contrary, except for the touchdown and the detention of the plane … it seemed normal.”
But the minister stressed that it was “too early” to determine the precise cause of the accident, saying an investigation had been ordered into the incident and efforts are being made to recover the aircraft digital flight data recorder, or “black box .
A team from the aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, is being sent from the U.S. India to provide technical assistance to researchers investigating the accident.
The president of the Airports Authority of India, VP Agarwal, said the aircraft flight crew had not reported any problems.
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