New Delhi: Aviation regulator DGCA on Wednesday
launched preliminary investigations into the helicopter crash
in Arunachal Pradesh that claimed 17 lives.
A high-level team of the Directorate General of
Civil Aviation led by its chief EK Bharat Bhushan visited
the accident site at Tawang, official sources here said,
adding that a two-member panel started probe into yesterday`s
They said the DGCA was also proposing to set up a full
fledged Court of Inquiry (CoI) into the accident, as was done
in the case of the Mangalore air crash last May. A CoI, which
is assisted by independent technical assessors, goes into all
aspects of an accident.
The team of two DGCA officials -- Sanit Kumar, Deputy
Director of the Regional Controller of Air Safety, and H N
Mishra, a senior official with air safety division --
conducted a site inspection on reaching Tawang this morning.
The Russian-origin MI-172 chopper, owned by Pawan Hans
Helicopters Ltd (PHHL), took off from Guwahati for Tawang but
caught fire just before it was to land at the helipad located
at an altitude of 11,000 feet, bordering China`s Tibet region.
There were 23 people on board the chopper - 16 adult
passengers, two minors, two pilots, and three crew members.
Six people, including both the pilots, survived the crash with
Pawan Hans operates daily helicopter services between
Guwahati and Tawang and other remote locations in Arunachal
Pradesh under an MoU signed between the public sector company
and the state government.
The chopper that crashed was in service for the past
14 years after being inducted in 1997.
"A thorough probe would unravel the reason behind the
crash. In the meantime the second Mi-172 chopper would not ply
on the route as it has gone for servicing," the sources