D. Sreenivasulu

“More details required before arriving at a conclusion”

ATMAKUR (KURNOOL district): An investigation team of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday gathered vital clues that could throw some light on the cause of the helicopter crash that killed former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and four others on September 2.

Led by R.K. Tyagi, the DGCA team spent several hours on the hillock meticulously examining every piece of debris. It mapped the entire crash site, the path in which the debris was scattered, location of the five bodies, the place where the engine rested and the trees which were first impacted by the helicopter. Mr. Tyagi told reporters that some more details were required before the team could arrive at a conclusion. This would be done in around two weeks. The team was likely to make a second visit after a week.

Sequence of accident

The helicopter first hit a tall tree on the top, chopping off its crown. Later, its blades twisted two tall, strong trees from where the debris ploughed to a distance of 80 to 100 metres from the west to the east.

According to flight experts, the left side of the helicopter (where the former Chief Minister was seated) took most of the impact resulting in throwing up much of the debris towards the right. After hitting the ground, the engine caught fire. The total crash site measures 100 metres long and 25 metres wide. The helicopter was so badly damaged after the crash that all its major components were broken into small pieces while the fuel and flight instrument panel and other parts melted. The rotor, blades and its mast were detached from the hub and smashed to pieces.

The experts tried to infer the direction of the flight, the altitude at which the helicopter flew and the impact of the weather conditions on the fight journey. The altitude of the hillock on which the flight crashed was calculated at 355 metres mean sea level. The experts were understood to be probing why the ill-fated copter had descended to such a low altitude when its engine power was normal.

Collector Mukesh Kumar Meena, SP Ch. Srikanth coordinated the visit of the panel, while Additional Director General of Police Sivanarayana, and Inspector General of Police M. Punna Rao also visited the place.