The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau on Thursday said that a five-member panel will investigate the plane crash at Kozhikode airport in Kerala, and submit its report within five months, PTI reported.
Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau Director General Aurobindo Handa appointed Captain SS Chahar to be the investigator-in-charge of the accident, ANI reported. He will “inquire into the circumstances” of the crash, and will be assisted by four other investigators.
The investigators will be operations expert Ved Prakash, senior aircraft maintenance engineer Mukul Bharadwaj, aviation medicine expert Captain (Dr) YS Dahiya, and the bureau’s Deputy Director Jasbir Singh Larga, the bureau said. The headquarters of the investigation will be in New Delhi, and Chahar will be permitted to take the assistance of other experts or agencies whenever required.
On August 7, Air India’s Boeing-737 flight from Dubai, repatriating Indians stranded due to the coronavirus pandemic, overshot the Kozhikode airport’s table-top runway amid heavy rain, tumbled into a valley and split into half. The plane was carrying 190 passengers and crew. The crash killed at least 18 people, including the pilots, and injured over 100 others.
After the crash, the Centre faced criticism for ignoring safety concerns raised by aviation experts about the airport. A report on aviation safety submitted to the Ministry of Civil Aviation in 2011, revealed the runway at the airport was unsafe for flight operations due to inadequate safety area along the runway and at the end of it to stop planes from skidding off. Other experts said that the government did not act to address the safety concerns.
On August 10, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri claimed that the airport was equipped with safety measures as per the International Civil Aviation Organization’s guidelines. The following day, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation banned the operation of wide-body aircraft at the Karipur International Airport.