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Updated: May 23, 2010 08:14 IST

U.S. team to assist in plane crash probe

DPA
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Firefighters and rescue personnel try to extinguish the flames around the site of an AI plane that crashed in Mangalore on Saturday. Photo: AP
AP Firefighters and rescue personnel try to extinguish the flames around the site of an AI plane that crashed in Mangalore on Saturday. Photo: AP

A team from the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was to arrive in India on Tuesday to assist investigators after a plane crash that killed 159 people.

On Saturday, Air India Express flight 812 from Dubai overshot a tricky hilltop runway while landing in the south-western city of Mangalore and crashed into a forested gorge, killing 159 people.

The aircraft broke into pieces and caught fire. Eight passengers who managed to jump out, survived. But one of them, a 4-year-old girl, later died in hospital.

Three officials from the NTSB, a US federal agency that investigates civil transportation accidents, will be joined by teams from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing, an NTSB spokesman said.

The team was to leave the US on Sunday evening and arrive in Mangalore by Tuesday morning.

Boeing said in a statement that its team was invited by Indian authorities to provide technical assistance to the investigators.

India’s federal Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said it was too early to say what caused the accident. The entire wreckage of the plane had been found and the black box was also expected to be recovered, he said.

The two-and-a-half-year-old aircraft had no history of defects or malfunction, Mr. Patel said, and that weather conditions were relatively normal when it landed.

Although it had been raining in the region since Thursday, there was no rain Saturday and the runway was dry when the aircraft landed, Mr. Patel said.


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