Special Correspondent

Probe into return of Kingfisher flight reveals smoke alarm went off due to ‘dangerous liquid’

in its cargo

HYDERABAD: Who says flying has become expensive nowadays?

People send ‘rat poison’ also by flight to far off destinations. It is not only rat poison, floor stain removing liquid is also sent by flight, if one were to go by Thursday’s incident which forced a Delhi-bound plane to land after being airborne for ten minutes.

Quite a few eyebrows were raised after the return of the Kingfisher flight and the subsequent finding that the smoke detection alarm in its cargo hold went off due to the presence of the ‘dangerous’ liquid.

Enquiry

The DGCA and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) launched a full-fledged enquiry on Friday and found that the cargo screening staff had, in fact, rejected carriage clearance for rat poison sought to be sent to Agra.

However, the floor stain remover liquid was another part of the consignment brought by Messrs POB and booked by a star hotel in Begumpet to be sent to Agra. When the personnel manning the X-ray scanner took an objection, the consignee declared them as ‘sample fruit juice’ and the bottles were allowed to be loaded onto the aircraft, sources say.

Friday’s investigation by the BCAS and DGCA teams focussed on finding out how the stain remover liquid was allowed for carriage.

The GMR officials told the investigators that while it could not be decided whether the liquid in question was ‘dangerous’ during an X-Ray scanning, the consignee had falsely declared it as ‘sample fruit juice’.

However, during the subsequent tests after the flight re-landed at airport, it was found that the liquid was a stain remover. The BCAS and DGCA team is said to have grilled the Menzies personnel responsible for cargo handling and the GMR staff who take care of cargo screening.

The team would be submitting its report in a day or two and pending this, the team had recommended half-a-dozen steps to be followed while handling and screening of cargo. The team had simulated the screening of the ‘questionable liquid’ and questioned the woman who had cleared the controversial cargo on Thursday. It also tried to find out whether the screening staff had the compulsory DGR (Dangerous Goods and regulations) certification as mandated by the DGCA.

DGR certification

Sources said the woman who cleared the cargo had only a primary level DGR certification.

“If only she had the higher level certification, she would have certainly insisted on a physical examination of the goods, if there was any doubt,” an official told The Hindu.