Arunachal MP welcomes setting up of committee to probe Tawang crash

April 24th, 2011 - 2:40 pm ICT by ANI  

By Praful Kumar Singh

New Delhi, Apr 24 (ANI): Member of Parliament from Arunachal Pradesh Takam Sanjoy on Sunday welcomed setting up of an inquiry committee to investigate the circumstances that led to the recent crash of a Pawan Hans helicopter in Tawang.

Sanjoy was in the forefront questioning the credibility of Pawan Hans Helicopters Services Limited (PHHL), after a 24-seater MI 172 chopper operated by the company crashed on Tuesday, killing 17 people and injuring six. He also took Civil Aviation authorities head on over airworthiness of ‘Pawan Hans’ fleet.

“I welcome the formation of a Committee of Inquiry headed by a retired Air Marshal and hope that Pawan Hans authorities and DGCA will not be casual in their approach while operating the helicopter services all over North East states, particularly, Arunachal Pradesh,” Sanjoy told ANI on phone from Jorhat in Assam.

The lawmaker said the recommendations of the panel, expected in three months, should be implemented in letter and spirit to instill confidence of the people in copter services, particularly when Arunachal Pradesh is poised to become a tourist hub of the country.

The PHHL has been operating five helicopters across Arunachal, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura and daily Guwahati-Tawang services for the past nine years.

The committee would be headed by Air Marshal (retired) P P Rajkumar, its other members are Air Commodore (retired) Rai Krishan and Wing Commander (retired) Rabinder Singh. DGCA’s deputy director (air safety) M J Singh would be its secretary.

The panel would investigate and determine the cause and contributory factors leading to the accident and make recommendations to avoid recurrence of such accidents, he said.

Sanjoy had also demanded the Civil Aviation Ministry to fix the accountability for poor maintenance and mandatory inspections of the chopper services as per DGCA rules.

As per demands made by the Arunachal MP in his memorandum to the Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi, the ministry has advised DGCA to immediately take actions with a view to ensure safety of helicopter operations in the country and launch a reassurance drive to ensure that all copters are being operated and maintained in accordance with the approved procedures.

The ministry has also directed DGCA to ensure that examiners of helicopters will conduct special checks of the line pilots under overall supervision of DGCA in a time bound manner and undertake immediate assessment of helipads particularly in critical areas where helicopter operations are undertaken in a drive mode.

The ill fated chopper’s scheduled flight to Seppa was cancelled on Monday (April 18) due to technical problem, and its maintenance taken up before it flew to Jorhat on a test flight and for refueling.

The next day, it left Guwahati with 18 passengers (2 minors) and five crewmembers for Tawang, and was scheduled to halt there for the night and fly back to Guwahati on Wednesday morning. But it crashed; killing 17 while 6 rescued from the burning chopper by onlookers. (ANI)

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