New Delhi: At least 10 people, including seven on board a chartered air ambulance carrying a critically ill patient, were killed when the aircraft crashed in a densely populated area of Faridabad city of Haryana on the outskirts of the national capital late Wednesday night.
The aircraft crashed on two houses in Parvatia locality near Sector 22 of Faridabad town in bad weather, barely minutes before it was to land here, police and aviation officials said.
Seven people, including two pilots, were killed in the crash. Three people died on the ground and one was injured, senior police officials said.
Ten people including the seven on board the aircraft died in the crash, Faridabad Police Commissioner PK Aggarwal said. Three people had died on the ground and one was injured and the toll could go up, he added.
Only three bodies were recovered till 12.30 a.m., Additional Deputy Commissioner (Faridabad) Anita Yadav said.
Police said that victims included three women.
Apart from the two pilots, the plane was also carrying four passengers, including a doctor, all of whom died.
The air ambulance was carrying Rahul Raj, a critically ill patient from a private hospital in Patna for treatment to Apollo Hospital here when the accident took place. The aircraft had gone from New Delhi to bring the patient from Patna.
The Pilatus PC-12 single-engined turbo-prop aircraft was flying to the capital from Patna, rushing a seriously-ill patient for specialised medical treatment when the crash occurred at 10.50 p.m., five minutes after it lost contact with the Air Traffic Control at Delhi airport, aviation officials said.
The aircraft was descending from 8,000 feet when it went off the ATC radar, an official said.
The plane crashed into two houses in a thickly populated area of Delhi`s suburban town and 20 fire tenders were rushed to the spot to aid in the rescue operations, Haryana police chief Ranjiv Dalal told in Chandigarh.
Flames billowed from the houses as residents of the area rushed to clear the debris. Mangled remains of the aircraft were littered all over the area.
An eyewitness told a TV news channel that he was on the roof of his house as he usually "stargazed" at night when he noticed a plane flying "sideways" instead of straight in heavy wind conditions.
According to an ATC official, "apart from the difficulty of operating a single-engined aircraft, doing so in heavy wind conditions can cause a disaster. In heavy wind conditions, the backdraft from the wind hitting the tail can make the aircraft unstable and cause it to nosedive".
The aircraft, registration number VT-ACF, was being operated by Air Charter Services India. The aircraft was manufactured in 2005.