INDIA. Mumbai: The Chhatisgarh Government’s training helicopter, the Augusta Westland AW-109, crashed near the taxiway at Raipur’s Swami Vivekanand Airport on Thursday night, killing two pilots who were on a flying exercise. The deceased were identified as Captain Gopal Krishna Panda and Captain AP Shrivastava.
Captain Panda and Captain Srivastava, both pilots, died in the crash, according to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. He sent his condolences to the grieving families.
“Just got sad news about the state helicopter crashing at Raipur airport. In this tragic accident, our pilots, Captain Panda and Captain Srivastava, died. May God gives strength to his family members and peace to the departed soul in this time of grief,” Baghel said.
“The helicopter crashed at around 9.10 pm. It was on a routine training sortie. Initial indications suggest technical malfunction as the cause of the crash,” the Chhattisgarh government said in a statement.
“Captain Gopal Krishna Panda and Captain AP Shrivastava have unfortunately succumbed to injuries following the crash. A detailed technical investigation at the behest of DGCA and state government shall be undertaken to ascertain the exact cause,” the statement added.
Anusuiya Uikey, the governor of Chhattisgarh, also paid respect to the pilots who died in the crash and conveyed condolences to their families.
The aircraft caught fire during landing, according to accounts.
A loud explosion followed the crash. A CISF and Fire Brigade team arrived on the scene quickly and successfully rescued the stranded pilot and co-pilot. One of the pilots died on the scene from his injuries, while the other was taken to the nearby Ramakrishna Care Hospital, where physicians declared him dead. Onboard, there were no passengers.
The crew was being tested for night flying proficiency. The chopper crashed on the runway before landing owing to a technical issue. Soon after the tragedy, all departure/arrival flights were halted at the airport.
According to sources at the Airport Authority of India (AAI), neither the weather nor the airport’s night landing facility can be blamed for the disaster.
They further stated that the event would be investigated by the Director-General of Civil Aviation and the state government. The accident is anticipated to be investigated by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB).
The AgustaWestland AW109 (formerly the Agusta A109) is a lightweight, twin-engine, eight-seat multi-purpose helicopter produced by Leonardo S.p.A. in Italy. It is the world’s first large-scale all-Italian helicopter.
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