Pilot responsible for chopper accident carrying Fadnavis on May 2017
The commander of a chopper, that crash-landed with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis along with others on-board last year, was responsible for the accident, a probe committee has found. The three-member panel, set up by the apex aircraft investigation body AAIB, probed the mishap and submitted its report.
Fadnavis had a narrow escape when his Sikorsky helicopter got entangled in overhead wires and crash-landed in Latur district in Maharashtra on May 25, 2017, after the pilot tried to descend due to bad weather soon after take-off.
The accident occurred when the helicopter was landing at Nilanga town of the district, around 500km from here, where the chief minister had gone to attend a programme. In its 64-page final investigation report, the panel has recommended that aviation regulator DGCA ensure all helicopter operators use actual weight of the passengers and cargo, prevailing temperatures and elevation of the place while computing load factor for their choppers.
AAIB, which comes under the civil aviation ministry, probes all serious incidents and accidents involving aircraft registered in India.
The state government-owned six-seater chopper was damaged beyond repair in the accident. "The committee is of the opinion that accident occurred as the PIC (pilot-in-command) attempted take-off at an AUW (all-up weight or the total weight) higher than the permissible limit for the prevailing conditions at the time of take-off," the committee said in its final report, posted on the DGCA website Monday.
The committee also concluded that the PIC using the wrong technique for departure from the congested hostile area was a contributory factor to the accident. The panel has made a host of recommendations to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to ensure the safety of passengers.
These include revision of the operations manual of all helicopter operators as well as ensuring that regulatory requirements are strictly followed by state government/ operators/agencies while selecting a temporary landing ground for chopper operations.
(With inputs from agencies.)