Praful Patel gives clean chit to AI plane

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said that there was no such problem in the plane.

Updated: May 22, 2010, 16:39 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Mangalore: Giving a clean chit to the condition of the Air India plane, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said that there was no such problem in the plane, which could have resulted in the crash.

Addressing the media, the minister said the plane overshot the runway after it landed at the airport, resulting in the mishap. Patel went on saying that visibility at the Mangalore airport where the flight crashed was normal.

The minister said the commander of the plane was 53-year-old Z Glusica, a British national who had 10,000 hours of flying experience and his licence had been endorsed by the DGCA, making him "capable" of flying in India.

Glusica had been flying in India for last two years, Patel said, trying to dispel impression that he was not aware of the Indian conditions.

Paying condolences Praful Patel said, “This incident has saddened all of us. We are shocked and are in pain. I would only like to stress my sincere condolences to the families and also to the crew members who have lost their lives.”

The aviation minister announced compensation of USD 160,000 to be paid to the families of the deceased.

Confirming the number of casualties, the Union Minister said, 158 killed, eight survived in the Air India Express plane crash in Mangalore.

“So far, 125 bodies have been extricated. There are still bodies inside the aircraft,” Patel said. “The entire wreckage also found,” he added.

Patel said four persons suffered minor injuries while three sustained major injuries. One person escaped unhurt.

When asked about the cause of the fatal air crash, the cabinet minister said “It’s too early to speak about cause of crash.” However, he assured of a detailed inquiry into the incident by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Air India.