Air Marshal (Retired) Bhushan Gokhale speaking to ANI in Pune on Saturday. [Photo/ANI]
Air Marshal (Retired) Bhushan Gokhale speaking to ANI in Pune on Saturday. [Photo/ANI]

Expert who investigated Mangalore plane crash lists possible reasons for Kozhikode mishap

ANI | Updated: Aug 09, 2020 11:31 IST


Pune (Maharashtra) [India], Aug 9 (ANI): Air Marshal (Retired) Bhushan Gokhale, who investigated the Mangalore plane crash in which around 158 passengers were killed in 2010, listed possible causes behind the Kozhikode plane tragedy and stated that inquiry panel will go into detailed issues related to the mishap.
"In the 2010 Mangalore incident, 158 people had died. The casualties are low in this Kozhikode tragedy. The reason why 158 people died in the Mangalore incident as the plane caught fire. The plane went down deep and people died due to asphyxiation and only 8 survived. In the Kozhikode incident, the plane went down for around 30-40 foot," he told ANI.
He also explained about problems during landing if the rainwater is accumulated on the runway.
"It was raining heavily in Kerala. The accumulation of rainwater on the runway surface in the rainy season is the riskiest thing. There should be proper drainage on runaway and a maximum of around 3 mm water film is allowed. During braking, the wheel of aircraft gets locked while landing and later released. At that time, if there is a film, then the plane will skid off. In this case, the plane can go in right or left direction or it cannot stop," Bhushan said.
"Rubber in the plane tires melts while landing and that's why smoke comes out. In this case, if the water is on the runway, there will be a problem while landing," he said.
Earlier, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) officials told ANI that the visibility was 2,000 metres at Kozhikode due to heavy rain and after landing at Runway 10, the plane continue running to the end of the runway and fell down in the valley and broke into two pieces.
Bhushan said that there is no problem in the operations of table-top runways but extra skill and caution are required while carrying out flight operations there.
"There are many table-top runways in India and across the world. There is no reason to be afraid of it. The airport in Kozhikode has a longer runway than Mangalore. But there is a rule by DGCA in landing at tabletop runways. Differents tests of pilots were taken before they get clearance to land at table-top runaways. Every runaway has its speciality. Different precautions are taken for these airports," he said.
The retired Air Marshal said that the inquiry panel will also look into why pilots have to take the decision to land compulsorily in Kozhikode if visibility was a problem there.

"As media reports say 2000 metres was the visibility. If that's true it was good visibility because in our field we consider 500 metres also good visibility. The inquiry should find out what was the visibility at that time. Another is the wind factor. The wind is erratic in tabletop runaways. The pilot ensures safe landing while considering all this. Maybe the situation was not well, that's why they took a round of the airport and then landed. There is a standard operating procedure set up by DGCA for clearing water from the runway. The inquiry panel will check this aspect during the investigation," he said.
"Pilot can land somewhere else but it is important how much fuel was left in the aircraft. Another thing is what was the weather in other airfields as if there would not be any different. In case of rain around those airfields. It will come out after inquiry about why they have to take the decision to land compulsorily in Kozhikode," he said.
Bhushan said that the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) that have been recovered from the Air India Express aircraft will reveal reasons behind the tragedy.
"It is good that DFDR has been found. CVR has been found which will help to find out what pilots were talking like if there was an engine problem, fuel availability, control issue, and braking issue. These things will be recorded in DFDR. This two equipment were badly damaged in the Mangalore incident," he said.
As the DGCA has ordered an inquiry into the mishap, Bhushan said that exact reasons will be known if the inquiry panel formed should be a composite team.
"I was the chairman and there was an experienced pilot with me. Two engineers were there and ATC officials who were experts of the runway, weather experts, and doctors. There should be a composite team. Medical reasons should also come out in these cases," he said.
"After the inquiry in the 2010 Mangalore incident, we gave 40-50 suggestions and those were implemented also. We will get to know about inquiry in this incident also. The pilot in the Mangalore incident had fallen asleep," he said.
On Friday, Air India Express aircraft carrying 190 people including 184 passengers and six crew members on board crash-landed at the Kozhikode airport.
18 people lost their lives in the incident. Both the Pilot and the Co-Pilot are among the dead. (ANI)

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