`Lacunae in safety norms led to copter crashes`
Itanagar: The Centre-appointed committee to probe into two simultaneous Pawan Hans helicopter crashes at Tawang last year, has highlighted serious violation of air safety norms in its report, released in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) website.
The report submitted by the three-member committee led by Air Marshal (retd) P P Rajkumar has indicted the DGCA, the Civil Aviation ministry and the Arunachal Pradesh Civil Aviation department.
Tawang district, bordering China, witnessed two chopper crashes last year one on April 19 which claimed 19 people and the other on April 30 that took the lives of then Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu along with four others on board.
The probe panel has accused Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited (PHHL) for the April 19 crash for overlooking flight standards and safety protocols.
"Better fire fighting infrastructure at the helipad could have lessened the magnitude of the tragedy," the report pointed out and recommended measures to be taken by DGCA, the civil aviation ministry and the Arunachal government.
The report states that the passengers of the M-172 chopper died mainly due to inadequate fire services and non-availability of crash equipment and trained personnel.
It says that PHHL operated flights for two years to Tawang helipad without ensuring adequate firefighting facilities and that the helicopter flouted permissible weight limit by at least 800 kg.
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