Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Airbus A319-112, Air India, VT-SCQ: Fatal accident occurred December 16, 2015 at Mumbai-Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, India

Plane involved in the accident was Air India Mumbai-Hyderabad AI 619.



A leaked internal email from a private airline has indicated that non-adherence to the standard operating procedure (SOP) had led to the death of an Air India ground technician on Wednesday night.

The incident had occurred around 8.30 pm, when the Hyderabad-bound AI-619 was being pushed back for departure with more than 100 passengers aboard. A 1983-batch technician, Ravi Subramaniam, had been sucked into the engine, shredding his body in the process.

Expressing his condolences, Air India chairperson Ashwani Lohani announced an ex-gratia of `5 lakh and a job to Subramaniam’s next of kin on Thursday. “We have lost a family member. An ex-gratia amount of `5 lakh has been given to the family. We have also offered a job to the family of the victim,” Lohani said.

Subramaniam’s funeral will be held on Friday, he said, adding that a two-minute silence will be observed at AI offices across the network at 11 am.

The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau has launched a probe into the incident, and the aircraft pilot and co-pilot have been derostered.

The email, a copy of which is in HT’s possession, noted that no chocks were placed under the wheels of the aircraft to prevent them from moving, as required by the SOP. Also, the aircraft – an Airbus 319 – hadn’t received clearance from engineers before it began taxiing for take-off, it added.

The document was a compilation of information acquired from Subramaniam’s colleagues, who were present at the scene when the incident occurred. One of them, a helper, had escaped death by ducking when the aircraft started to move. “The helper removed the tow bar and, in all this time, the technician (Subramaniam) was facing the tow truck with his back to the engine. In the meantime, as per information, the captain received taxi clearance from the Air Traffic Control, and he was informed by the co-pilot that the [area around the] aircraft is clear,” the email read, adding that Subramaniam had headphones on when the incident occurred.

Meanwhile, an official said on the condition of anonymity that the role of the pilots will be looked into. “Before the aircraft begins to taxi, the pilots need to check again if both sides of the plane are clear,” he stated, adding that not following the process would amount to criminal negligence.

According to an expert, the aircraft maintenance engineer (AME) may also be hauled up in this regard. Stating that it was the AME’s job to alert the pilots and the technician, he said, “But it seems he was missing. You cannot leave the aircraft at the mercy of a technician.”

Fingers were also pointed at the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA), the nation’s air travel safety watchdog. “The safety management system should have been implemented. Had it been strictly put into practice by the DGCA, the accident would not have occurred,” said an official.

Source:  http://www.hindustantimes.com

The pilot and co-pilot of an Air India plane involved in last night's freak accident at the Mumbai airport where a technician died after getting sucked into the engine have been grounded even as the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau launched a probe. 

Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani, who rushed to Mumbai this morning for an on-the-spot inquiry, said, "initially it seems that there was some communication gap." He, however, refused to go into the details of what could have possibly caused the mishap described as a "serious accident."

The rare mishap had occurred during push back for departure when the co-pilot of Mumbai-Hyderabad flight 619 allegedly mistook a signal for starting the engine and Subramanian, who was standing close, got sucked into it at bay 28 of the Chhatrapati Shivaji airport around 8.40 pm.

The pilot and the co-pilot of the Airbus A320 plane have been derostered after the mishap, a senior Air India official said. Lohani announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh and a job in the airline to a family member of service engineer Ravi Subramanian. "This is a serious accident and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau has taken up the probe," a senior civil aviation ministry official said.

AAIB, a dedicated entity to investigate accidents, functions under the Civil Aviation Ministry. Manned by employees from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the bureau was carved out of DGCA in 2012.

An aircraft parked in a bay cannot reverse on its own and has to be pulled by a tow vehicle. It was during the push back that the engine of the plane got started, violently pulling into its innards Subramanian, who was standing dangerously close.

His body was so badly mutilated it could not be sent for post mortem examination. "We have lost a family member. An ex-gratia amount of Rs 5 lakh has been given to the family. We have also offered a job to the family of the victim," Lohani told reporters in Mumbai.

Earlier in the day, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said a three-member committee led by Lohani and top officials of DGCA had rushed to Mumbai.

"It is very sad. We have lost a young engineer. A committee has been set up to investigate the incident and it has already started the probe," Sharma said in Delhi.He, however, refused to elaborate further, saying that "it will be too premature to comment until the findings of the probe are out". 

Source:  http://www.deccanherald.com


The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau today launched a probe into yesterday's freak accident at the Mumbai airport where a technician died after getting sucked into the engine of an Air India plane even as the the pilot and co-pilot have been derostered. 

Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani, who rushed to Mumbai this morning for an on-the-spot inquiry, has announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh and a job in the airline to a family member of service engineer Ravi Subramanian. 

"This is a serious accident and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau has taken up the probe," a senior civil aviation ministry official said. 

AAIB, a dedicated entity to investigate accidents, functions under the Civil Aviation Ministry. Manned by employees from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the bureau was carved out of DGCA in 2012. 

The rare mishap had occurred during push back when the co-pilot of Mumbai-Hyderabad flight 619 mistook a signal for starting the engine and the victim, Ravi Subramanian, who was standing close, got sucked into it at bay 28 of the Chhatrapati Shivaji airport. 

An aircraft parked in a bay cannot reverse on its own and has to be pulled by a tow vehicle. It was during the push back that the engine of the plane got started, violently pulling into its innards Subramanian, who was standing dangerously close. His body was so badly mutiliated it could not be sent for post mortem examination. 

"We have lost a family member. An ex-gratia amount of Rs 5 lakh has been given to the family. We have also offered a job to the family of the victim," Lohani told reporters in Mumbai. 

Though he refused to go into the details of what could have possibly caused the accident, Lohani said,"initially it seems that there was some communication gap." He, however, did not elaborate. 

Earlier in the day, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said a three-member committee led by Lohani and top officials of DGCA had rushed to Mumbai. 

"It is very sad. We have lost a young engineer. A committee has been set up to investigate the incident and it has already started the probe," Sharma said in Delhi. 

He, however, refused to elaborate further, saying that "it will be too premature to comment until the findings of the probe are out".


Source:  http://www.business-standard.com

An aircraft technician with Air India was killed Wednesday at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport when he was sucked into the engine of an aircraft that was getting ready to taxi.

The incident occurred as the Mumbai-Hyderabad flight AI 619 began its pushback at 8.46 pm. The technician, Ravi Subramanian, got pulled into the engine and died instantly. Hours later, the process of extricating the severely mutilated body was still underway.

An investigation was announced by Air India immediately. The DGCA also ordered an inquiry.

In a statement, Air India chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani said, “We are deeply saddened and regret the tragic incident at Mumbai airport this evening when an Air India technician died in a mishap during pushback of flight AI 619. The incident is being investigated.”

Speaking to The Indian Express, Lohani said, “The flight was already boarded. It was ready for take-off. While it was pushing back to come on the airstrip, he (Subramanian) was working on the ground. His body got entangled in the engine.”

Subramaniam, 56, was a Vashi resident and worked as a service engineer. His job included disconnecting the pushcart from the aircraft before it moves towards the runway.

When the accident happened, an aircraft maintenance engineer was also with him.

According to the standard operating procedure, a maintenance engineer first gives clearance to the pilot by waving a red flag, after which the pilot can start the engine for taxiing out.

According to an eyewitness, it appeared that the flight captain may have started the engine before the clearance, though officials could not confirm this immediately.

Subramanian was near the nose wheel along with the pushcart when the engine started and he was sucked in.

The Mumbai Police is also investigating the accident. “Prima facie evidence indicates a case of accidental death, no one appears to be at fault,” Virendra Mishra, zonal DCP, said. A case of accidental death has been registered at the Sahar police station.

- Story and comments: http://indianexpress.com

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