Mumbai Ghatkopar plane crash: Five persons including one pedestrian were killed on Thursday afternoon when a chartered planed crash landed in Mumbai's densely populated Ghatkopar area.
Mumbai Ghatkopar plane crash: Five persons including one pedestrian were killed on Thursday afternoon when a chartered planed crash landed in Mumbai’s densely populated Ghatkopar area. The deceased include two pilots — Captain Pradeep Rajput, woman pilot Captain Mariya — and woman aircraft maintenance engineer Surabhi, who was more than two months pregnant, and junior technician Manish Pandey. The maintenance personnel were from Indamer Aviation Pvt Ltd. The fifth person was identified as Govind Pandit. He was burnt fatally when some burning fuel from the aircraft fell on him. Three others were also injured in the incident.
Eyewitnesses said the aircraft was seen hurtling down in the narrow Jeevdaya Lane area and crashed into an under construction building before breaking into pieces. While pilot PS Rajput had joined UY Aviation three months ago, Marya had joined the company earlier this month. Indamer operates Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) for flights from Juhu airport. The remaining two persons who were on board, were from Indamer. The company was founded in 1939.
Mumbai Gahtkopar plane crash: Top Developments
1. The aircraft was bought by Mumbai-based UY Aviation Pvt Ltd from the Uttar Pradesh government in 2015. The plane had earlier met an accident in Allahabad around eight years ago. However, no one was killed in the incident. The IE report cited a senior UY Aviation official to confirm that the plane was previously owned by the UP government and had met a minor accident between 2009 and 2010. The official said that the aircraft was ground since then before the UY Aviation finalised a deal to buy it in 2015. “In UP, the aircraft was used for official government purposes.”
2. The faulty aircraft was on a test flight on Thursday when the incident happened. It was the first test flight of the aircraft after repair and maintenance for around 3 years. According to a report in The Indian Express, the Mumbai-based aviation company, after purchasing the Beechcraft King C90 plane in 2015 from the UP government, spent close to Rs 8 crore to repair it. The repair of the 22-year-old plane included new spare parts and various maintenance requirements.
3. The IE report said that the plane had completed preliminary tests inside the Juhu aerodrome. “After completing some ground tests earlier, it was conducting its first flight today after maintenance,” a Juhu airport official said.
4. The plane had completed 40 minutes journey with four persons on board, the IE report said, quoting Juhu aerodrome sources. They said that 10 minutes before landing, the plane lost communication with the Airport Traffic Control (ATC) of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
5. P Kuthariya, husband of the deceased lady pilot, claimed that before taking off from the Juhu Aerodrome, his wife had informed him that the test flight will be difficult due to bad weather. He said that the aviation company be blamed for the tragedy. “The incident could have been averted. Mariya had told me that the flight won’t be flown due to bad weather. The aviation company is responsible for this unfortunate incident.”
Kuthariya said that he learnt about the news from TV channels and texted his wife immediately to check if she had landed. “They crashed before they could complete the emergency landing. They (pilots) have given their lives for kids and people of Mumbai, they prevented the plane from crashing into a school.”
6. According to Captain Srikrishna Vinod, chief of flight safety at UY Aviation, the plane was not a part of the company’s inventory. He informed that it was supposed to be inducted only after obtaining an approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). “Till the day of the crash, the aircraft was being maintained at the Indemar aviation MRO at Juhu.”
7. Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu, who hails from Mumbai, expressed deep shock over the tragedy. The Minister said that he has ordered the DGCA to conduct an investigation into the crash. The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau will make the detailed probe. The black-box of the aircraft was recovered after flames were doused.
8. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the incident site and also the hospital where injured were admitted. Fadnavis expressed grief over loss of lives and assured that all necessary help will be provided to the victims. He said that the incident is a matter of serious concern as it has happened in a residential area. “The plane crashed at an under construction site. Had it crashed into a building occupied by people, it would have caused severe loss. Compensation will be provided,” he said. Police Commissioner Datta Padsalgikar, BJP MP Kirit Somaiya, Congress MLA Naseem Khan also visited the crash site.
9. An aviation expert said that the aircraft at 22 years was not that old. “Usually, when an aircraft completes a major overhaul, it is fit to be used and runs like any new aircraft. So, spending Rs 8 crore on the maintenance of a plane should not be a huge sum,” the IE report quoted him as saying.
10. UY Aviation was set up in 2015-16. It is owned by gutka baron Deepak Kothari. The company operates choppers, helicopters and air ambulances out of Mumbai. The company owns a fleet of four aircraft. In the last two years, the company had provided services to business professionals and the state government. The company charges Rs 1 lakh for two hours. For 2017 fiscal, the firm had reported a loss of Rs 1.04 crore and has a total liabilities of Rs 35.51 crore.