Ministry to set up Faridabad air crash probe panel

May 26th, 2011 - 7:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) The civil aviation ministry Thursday said it has received a preliminary report on Wednesday’s air ambulance crash in a suburb of the national capital, and will constitute an investigation panel soon.

“We have received a preliminary report about the accident. We will appoint a enquiry committee to investigate the matter,” Nasim Zaidi, secretary with the civil aviation ministry, told reporters here.

At least 10 people, seven on board and three on ground, were killed when a single engine air ambulance lost control and crashed into a residential area in Faridabad late Wednesday.

“The plane went off radar at 8,000 feet, when it was descending. It was only 12-15 minutes away from landing at the IGI (Indira Gandhi International) Airport,” a senior Air Traffic Control (ATC) official told IANS.

The Swiss-made aircraft PC-12/45 was modified as an air ambulance craft, with passenger capacity of five, including one patient and two pilots.

The plane took off from Patna around 8.30 p.m.. It experienced rough weather and heavy wind condition, which may have been a contributing factor to its crash, said the ATC official.

“There were heavy winds and temperature variations. The plane was also a single-engine aircraft. Just a little push by heavy wind on the tail-end of the plane can cause it to spiral down,” the official said.

Zaidi said the ministry has constituted a working group to review existing safety regulatory framework for general aviation, and non-scheduled operator permit holders, as well as air ambulance operations.

The 2005-manufactured plane was commissioned into service by Delhi-based Air Service Charter India Pvt. Ltd., which operates emergency medical transfer services.

The ministry has also decided to establish an investigative arm — Accident Investigation Committee (AIC) — which would include officials from all the allied services under the civil aviation ministry.

“The AIC would assist the ministry in the formation of court of inquiry and committee of inquiry in case of major accidents. It will carry out investigation of aircraft accidents and nominate teams and groups for the purpose,” the civil aviation ministry said in a statement.

“It shall maintain a panel of experts in various fields of aviation such as accident investigation, airworthiness, meteorology, flight operations, air traffic management with background in investigation who may be associated with the investigation process,” the statement added.

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