Hyderabad: A pilot and a female trainee pilot were killed when the Cessna aircraft they were flying in crash-ed over an agricultural field at Sultanpur village of Bantwaram mandal in Vikarabad district on Sunday afternoon owing to inclement weather.
Ravinder Reddy, in-charge DSP, Vikarabad, identified the victims as Vishal Prakash, 24, a native of Delhi, and Amanpreet Kaur, 22, of Punjab. The bodies of the pilot and the trainee, were found close to the crash site. The police have sent the bodies for autopsy to the Vikarabad area hospital.
The trainees belonged to the Rajiv Gandhi Aviation Academy. The aircraft, which belongs to Wings Aviation Private Ltd, took off from the Begumpet airport at 11.12 am and was reported lost at around 1 pm. The crash site is 100 km from the city. The Vikarabad police suspect that bad weather could be the reason for the crash, but would take help from the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation before coming to a final conclusion.
Mr Reddy said that Vishal Prakash had completed his training about three months ago and had a pilot’s licence.
Amanpreet Kaur was still undergoing training. The plane took off from the Begumpet station and lost contact with the ground station after flying for over an hour. They crashed into a cotton field in Sultanpur, he said.
Locals saw the plane crash and alerted revenue officials and the police.
C. Pattabhi, general manager, Begumpet Airport, said, “The aircraft took off from Begumpet at 11.12 am. After flying for about an hour, it lost contact with the ATC at around 12.20 pm. A search operation was immediately launched and all concerned agencies were alerted. At around 2.30 pm, we received confirmation of the aircraft’s crash and death of the two, including the trainee pilot.”
He said, “The aircraft was allowed out only when the weather was suitable for flying. The exact reason for the crash needs to be ascertained.”
“Prima facie, it is found that when the aircraft was flying, the weather was unpleasant. A villager, who witnessed the incident, told police that the aircraft flew upside down several times before crashing to the ground at a high speed,” the DSP said.
A case under Section 174 of the CrPC was registered at the Bantwaram police station based on a complaint from K Mallaiah, the farmer who witnessed the crash.
When asked if aircraft were allowed to fly during inclement weather, V N Bharath Reddy, director, Telangana State Aviation Corporation, said, “The mishap does not seems to be due to bad weather. The training standards need to be set high by private aviation schools to avoid such incidents. The DGCA will probe into the incident, and as a state body, we will get a report and study the incident.”
Officials of the Wings Aviation were not available for comment.
A senior pilot, on condition of anonymity, said, “The plane was going from east to west. Clouds were coming from the west. Due to this, the turbulence was very high. The Cessna is a light aircraft and when they come in contact with such turbulent weather conditions, mishaps can occur.”
According to safety norms to be followed by pilots, there must be clear visibility of about five kilometres before take-off. Permission is granted only when such visibility is present. The warnings given by the weather department about lightning, thunder and rains are taken into account, but pilots are trained to fly in these bad weather conditions too, explained a senior pilot, again, on condition of anonymity.
Only a properly conducted inquiry could determine what caused the crash....