Expert panel set up to probe Tawang chopper crash

April 23rd, 2011 - 8:45 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) The civil aviation ministry Saturday appointed an expert committee to probe the April 19 helicopter crash in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang town, a statement said. Seventeen of the 23 people aboard were killed in the accident.

“Keeping in view the circumstances of the accident, the ministry of civil aviation has instituted a committee to investigate and determine the cause and contributory factors leading to the accident,” it said.

The committee, which will complete its inquiry and submit a report in three months, is headed by Air Marshal (retd) P.P. Rajkumar, while other members include Air Commodore (retd) Rai Krishan and Wing Commander (retd) Rabinder Singh. M.J. Singh, the deputy director of air safety at Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has been appointed as secretary to the committee.

The statement further said the ministry has advised the DGCA to undertake immediate assessment of helipads particularly in critical areas, and to ensure that implementation of safety regulations is carried out by state governments.

Earlier, DGCA had constituted a two-member central team of aviation experts to launch an initial probe into the helicopter crash.

Meanwhile, the public sector Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited (PHHL)- which operated the crashed Mi-172 chopper - said that an interim compensation of Rs.1 lakh to the deceased and Rs.50,000 for the injured would be provided.

“Final compensation shall, however, be determined as per law,” the statement said.

The helicopter, with 23 people - 16 adult passengers, two minors, two pilots, and three crew members - crashed and burst into flames just before landing at the Tawang helipad located at an altitude of 11,000 feet, bordering China’s Tibet region.

Six people, including both the pilots, survived.

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