Monday, 30 September 2013

Mexico's disappeared continues to rise

A helicopter with five people on board crashed near Murbad, about 75km from Mumbai, on Sunday morning. All the five, including two pilots, were found dead.

The Bell 212 helicopter took off from Juhu aerodrome at 7.47am for Nagpur via Aurangabad for a refuelling break. The Mumbai ATC took charge of the chopper’s navigation about five nautical miles from Juhu. The helicopter was expected to reach Aurangabad at 9.30am.

Around 9.10am, the ATC’s Aurangabad division informed Mumbai about the loss of contact with the helicopter. The Mumbai ATC immediately launched a search operation along with several agencies.

After a while the Thane police informed the ATC about a chopper crash around 2,000ft above the ground on a hilly terrain in Murbad’s Naneghat area.

The dead were identified as captain SS Bhaduria, co-pilot captain Allen Martin, captain Anshu Matta, engineer Yatin Wakade and technician Dean D’Souza.

“The bodies will be handed over to the families after post-mortems,” NK Balakrishnan, CEO of United Helicharters Pvt Ltd, which owned the helicopter, said.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) officials visited the spot and an investigation is on.

“So far, we suspect the aircraft touched the high tension electric wires and that could have led to the accident,” a senior Mumbai ATC official said.

Aviation industry experts say high tension wires are generally at about 80-100 metres from the ground. And helicopters generally fly in the range of 7,000-15,000 feet above the ground.

They talk of two possibilities: the chopper might have had a faulty altimeter. In that case it would have shown the wrong altitude — a possible reason for the copter touching the high tension wires. Or, the pilot might have tried to land the helicopter because of some mechanical problem.

The search and rescue team found it difficult to reach the crash site because of the hilly terrain and bad weather. The charred bodies were brought down to the plains manually and then taken to the primary health centre in Tokavade, close to Kalyan.

Monday 30 September 2013


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