Mumbai

5 killed as private aircraft crashes into building under construction in Mumbai

Rescue personnel searching for survivors in the Ghatkopar crash.   | Photo Credit: P. Srushti

Four persons on board and one person on the ground were killed, and three others injured, as a private aircraft crashed into a building under construction at Ghatkopar in Mumbai on Thursday afternoon.

Lalit Gupta, Joint Director General of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), in a statement said the aircraft, a King Air C-90 aircraft (VT-UPZ), belonged to U.Y. Aviation Pvt. Ltd., which had bought it from Galaxy Corporation a few years ago. The Uttar Pradesh government was the first owner of the aircraft.

Temporary certificate

The aircraft had been issued only a temporary airworthy certificate to fly and was on its first test flight for availing an Airworthy Certificate. On the scheduled “local flying” trip to and from the Juhu aerodrome, the aircraft had two pilots from UY Aviation, and two aircraft maintenance engineers from Indamer Aviation Pvt. Ltd. on board. It took off at 12.40 p.m. and was meant to fly back to Juhu after the test sortie. It crashed around 1.15 p.m.

 

Officials at the Juhu Air Traffic Control (ATC) said the King Air C-90 had been in touch with the Mumbai airport Air Traffic Control (ATC) when it was at a distance of seven miles. At a distance of two miles, it was cleared to land on the basis of Visual Flight Rules (VFR) — where the pilot flies on the basis of visual reference and not instrumentation.

The aircraft crashed at a distance of one mile from the Mumbai airport’s main runway, just after it had turned towards the runway at Juhu. ATC data has revealed that visibility was at 1,500 metres at the time of the crash, and the aircraft was flying at a height of 400 feet when its transponder stopped sending signals.

Engulfed in flames

The King Air C-90 crashed into an under-construction building and and was instantly engulfed flames. Officials said that several lives were saved as the crash took place around 1.15 p.m., when most of the construction workers at the site were away for lunch. Two workers still at the site suffered injuries, including burns. They were rushed to the municipal Rajawadi Hospital and are now stable.

 

Senior DGCA officials confirmed that the Cockpit Voice Recorder had been recovered. “Fire damaged a lot of the evidence, which would have given us further leads to probe. Preliminary examination of crash site suggests a fuel fire and mechanical failure, but it can neither be confirmed or denied at this stage,” the official said.

A statement from Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said he had directed the DGCA to conduct an investigation into incident. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was among those who visited the crash site.

 

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2021 4:46:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/private-aircraft-crashes-into-under-construction-building-in-mumbai/article24278144.ece

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