Saturday, August 07, 2021

A year on, probe report of Air India Express Calicut crash yet to be released

Mumbai: Unlike the investigations carried out into fatal airline accidents that occurred in India in the previous decades, the Air India Express Calicut crash that killed 21 people last August is different in that no report has been released even a year down the line.

This will the first time in many decades that India will miss the one year deadline set by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for submission of a final report. India had honoured the one-year deadline in all other fatal crashes that occurred in the earlier decades.

For instance: the final report of Air India Express Mangalore crash that occurred in May 2010 was released in March 2011.

The Alliance Air Patna crash happened in July 2000 the final report was released on March 2001.

The Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision occurred in November 1996 and the final report was released in July 1997.

The Indian Airlines Aurangabad crash in April 1993 had the final report come out in December 1993.

The Indian Airlines Imphal crash happened in August 1991 and the final report was released in April 1992.

The Indian Airlines Bangalore crash of February 1990 saw the final report released in December 1990.

The other significant aspect that separates this investigation from the previous ones involving fatalities is that Calicut is a closed-door investigation.

Capt Mohan Ranganathan, an air safety expert said: “ Before Calicut, every air accident that involved loss of life was investigated by a Court of Inquiry (CoI).” The norm back then was to set up a CoI, have various stake holders and experts depose before a court that was open to public.

Capt Amit Singh, an air safety expert said: ``The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is generally a public hearing which allows public to observe the proceedings. It has different committees to look into aspects such as survival factors, weather, human performance etc. The committees investigate in parallel and upload their findings online as they progress. Many other countries too carry out transparent probes. For instance: Australia uploads its air crash investigation findings online with a dashboard indicating the progress.”

Accident investigations are carried out in accordance with Annex 13 of ICAO. It states that an investigation should not be carried out to apportion blame. The sole purpose then of an investigation is to learn lessons and prevent a recurrence. ``The Annex 13 recommends deadlines, a preliminary report within a month of the crash and a final report within in a year. The whole point of investigation is lost if the final report is delayed,’’ said Capt Amit. While the preliminary report needn’t be made public, many countries upload it online, he added.

07/08/21 Times of India

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