New Delhi: The September 4, 2017 plane tragedy could have been averted, had the senior male pilot heeded to the warnings given by his female co-pilot who asked the former to go extremely slow as she could not see runway markings, Hindustan Times reported.
Notably, Air India Express flight IX 452 en route to Kochi, with 102 passengers onboard, ended up in an open drain after making a landing in heavy rains. The incident left three passengers injured while the aircraft was left severely damaged.
Initially, the real cause did not come to light, only bad weather was blamed. However, an investigation has now revealed that it was not just bad weather, but also negligence on part of the pilot. “There is not just one reason behind an accident. In the report, we tried to go to the exact details and found that probable cause of the accident was incorrect judgement taken by PIC (pilot-in-command). Heavy rain and reduced visibility were contributory factors,” the report quoted a Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official as saying.
As per the report, the co-pilot, who was 30 years younger to the pilot, told him to go extremely slow as runway markings were not visible. Minutes later, she also suggested that a“follow-me” vehicle be arranged. A “follow-me” vehicle is used for guiding aircraft in cases of low visibility.
“However, there was no response from PIC. At 2112 UTC, the aircraft took a 90m early turn before the Taxiway ‘F’… and entered into open rainwater drain. PIC applied throttle three times for aircraft to come out of the drain, but aircraft stuck in the drain. Co-pilot requested PIC not to apply throttle,” HT quoted from the DGCA report.
“…The coordination was lacking from PIC’s side. PIC was found alcohol-positive twice and his licence was suspended by DGCA for 3 months from 09.01.2016. The pilot had operated previous flight a day before and as per his statement, he reached hotel around midnight and was not able to sleep. In cockpit voice recorder, there is noise of PIC yawning in the flight,” the newspaper quoted from the report.
Giving the deets about the incident, the report said that the aircraft took a 90m early turn before the taxiway, ending up straight into open rainwater drain.
Taking stock of the situation, the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) has now directed the Air India Express to make sure that its crew members co-ordinate amongst themselves.