Antony not to attend LCH’s maiden flight function in Bengaluru

May 22nd, 2010 - 8:07 pm ICT by ANI  

Bengaluru May 22 (ANI): Defence Minister A K Antony has cancelled his Sunday’s visit to Bengaluru, where he was supposed to participate in the inaugural flight launch ceremony of the Advanced Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), in the wake of the Mangalore air disaster.

Sitanshu Kar , Director Indian Air Force Public Relations, told media persons here that Antony had expressed shock over Saturday’s tragedy at Mangalore airport, in which 158 people were killed, and therefore, had decided not attend Sunday’s function.

Kar, however, said that the inaugural flight launch function of the LCH, which has been developed by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) would continue as per schedule with Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik being the chief guest.

Apart from various other dignitaries, Minister of State for Defence Pallam Raju would also be present on the occasion.

Meanwhile, recovery work in Mangalore, where an Air India Express flight IX-812 from Dubai overshot the runway bursting into flames killing over 150 people on board is still going on.

Several bodies are still believed to be inside the charred remains of the aircraft as rescue teams continue the recovery work in the difficult terrains surrounding Mangalore Airport.

The flight data recorder or the “Black Box”, which records the conversation between the pilot of the aircraft and the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) has still not been recovered from the mangled remains of the Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which crashed at 6.30 in the morning today.

Many theories and stories are doing rounds concerning the worst air mishap on the Indian soil in over 14 years, with one of the lucky survivors of the accident saying he heard a loud thud, probably a tyre burst, just before the aircraft caught fire and descended into thick forests.Human failure and technical snag are also being considered as the reasons for the disaster.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, however, brushed aside allegations regarding airport safety norms being neglected.

Patel said a clearer picture about the actual cause behind the crash would only emerge after a detailed enquiry by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Speaking during a press conference after visiting the crash site, he said had the Mangalore Airport been ‘unsafe’ there was no possibility of it getting clearance from the concerned authorities to operate flights from there.(ANI)

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