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Sunday, May 23, 2010

There was no distress indication from pilot: AAI

Mumbai: Visibility at the Mangalore airport where an Air India flight crashed today was more than required and there was 'no distress indication' from the pilot of the ill-fated plane, officials said. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation will conduct a detailed inquiry into the incident, they said. The visibility was 6 kms, which is 'more than that required', when the ill-fated plane landed in Mangalore, Airports Authority of India (AAI) Chairman V P Agarwal told reporters in Delhi hours after the mishap. 'There was no distress indication from the pilot of the ill-fated plane,' he said.

Replying to a volley of questions, Agarwal said, 'No constructional defeciencies were noticed' and that authorities had conducted all necessary safety checks at the airport before the runway which has been operational since 2006. In Mumbai, Air India Director (Operations) Anup Srivastava said the plane overshot the runway after it landed at the airport, resulting in the mishap. Eight passengers of the ill-fated plane from Dubai survived the crash. 'There were 160 passengers, including four infants, and six crew on on board plane. Eight persons survived the crash,' he told reporters.

Agarwal said the visibility at the airport was 'very good' and situation deteriorated later. Srivastava said rainfall had started when the mishap took place. The Air India official said the commander of the plane was 53-year-old Z Glusica, a British national of Serbian origin. He had 10,000 hours of flying experience and his licence had been endorsed by the DGCA, making him 'capable' of flying in India. Glusica had been flying in India for last two years, Srivastava said, trying to dispel impression that he was not aware of the Indian conditions. The co-pilot H S Ahluwalia, who hailed from Karnataka,
was relatively new as he had begun flying here in April last year. He had 3,750 hours of flying experience. Glusica and Ahluwalia had last flown to Mangalore on May 17, Srivastava said.

The plane was two-and-a-half-year old and was air worthy, the Air India official said. PTI

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