US-based agency to assist in Kozhikode plane crash probe

The US-based National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will assist India’s aircraft accidents and incidents investigating agency, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB), in the latter’s probe in the Kozhikode Air India Express aircraft crash on August 7. The crash killed 18 people on board, including both the pilots.

NTSB is an independent US-based government agency investigating accidents.

As per the requirements of Aircraft (Investigation of Accidents & Incidents) Rules 2017 & ICAO Annex 13, AAIB, as the agency from the ‘State of Occurrence’ has notified the NTSB, which is an agency from the ‘State of Manufacturer’ about the accident.

Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (ICAO), reflects the standards and recommended practices covering aircraft accident and incident investigation. It also stipulates that the State of Occurrence shall institute an investigation into the circumstances of the accident and be responsible for the conduct of the investigation and allows ‘State of Manufacture’ to participate in the investigations.

The Air India Express plane involved in the accident was a Boeing 737 aircraft, manufactured in the US.

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The flight, operating as IX 1344 from Dubai to Kozhikode International airport, overshot the table top runway in rainy conditions and fell into a 35 ft valley after crashing into the airport fence wall.

Confirming the development, AAIB said, “NTSB has appointed Accredited Representative and Technical Advisors to assist in the investigation as per ICAO Annex 13 protocol. The investigating team is co-ordinating with the Accredited Representative/Technical Advisers appointed by NTSB. As and when any assistance is required by the investigating team, the same will be intimated to them.”

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Meanwhile, AAIB has appointed a five-member team headed by Captain SS Chahar to probe the accident. Other team members include operations expert Ved Prakash, senior aircraft maintenance engineer Mukul Bharadwaj, aviation medicine expert Group Captain (Dr) Y S Dahiya and AAIB deputy director Jasbir Singh Largha. According to Aurobindo Handa, director general of AAIB, the team has been instructed to complete the investigation and submit the report in five months.

A senior official from the ministry from civil aviation said the investigation will be thoroughly conducted and the report is expected to be submitted before the internationally accepted time limit of one year.

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