By Ashoke Raj
New Delhi [India], May 2 (ANI): SpiceJet Boeing B737 aircraft operating the Mumbai-Durgapur flight was on “autopilot mode” when it faced turbulence leaving fourteen passengers and three cabin crew injured, a preliminary report by India’s aviation watchdog Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has revealed.
“During this period, the autopilot got disengaged for two minutes and the crew manually flew the aircraft. Aircraft reported to Durgapur ATC that few passengers were injured due to turbulence and requested medical assistance after landing,” the DGCA report said.
Further, the DGCA investigation highlighted it was a close shave for over 190 passengers on May 1 at Durgapur airport. “Spice jet B737-800 aircraft VT-SLH operating flight SG-945 (Mumbai-Durgapur) encountered severe turbulence during descent. There was a total of 195 persons on board the aircraft including 02 pilots and 04 cabin crew members. The aircraft took off from Mumbai at approx. 1713 IST. During descent, the aircraft experienced severe turbulence and the vertical load factor varied from +2.64G and -1.36G,” DGCA’s initial probe report stated.
Meanwhile, the aviation regulator has off-rostered the involved crew, the aircraft maintenance engineer (AME) and in charge of the maintenance control center of spice-jet.
The DGCA officials are presently in Kolkata and have met the injured passengers and recorded their statements for investigation.
“There were injuries to fourteen passengers and three cabin crew. The injuries were related to head, spine, shoulder, forehead and facial injuries. At present three passengers are hospitalized. Two of the passengers are in ICU at Durgapur. One of the passengers is admitted to Diamond hospital suffering from a head injury and the other passenger is in mission hospital with a spinal injury. The oxygen panels opened up and oxygen masks fell off. Damage has occurred to the few seat hand rest and overhead decorative panels. One cabin overhead bin (hatrack) lock was found broken. The galley items were seen strewn across the floor. Same was the condition in the aisle,” they said.
The DGCA under the leadership of senior IAS officer Arun Kumar has constituted a team for detailed investigation into the incident of SpiceJet which is taking the above accident seriously and told ANI, “As a regulatory measure, DGCA is carrying out the inspection of M/S Spice jet aircraft across the fleet and Strict action will be taken if found guilty.” (ANI)