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Mumbai plane crash: Prelim report in ‘few’ days says Somaiya

BJP lawmaker Kirit Somaiya today said that the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) is likely to submit its preliminary report on the Ghatkopar plane crash in the next “few” days.

Somaiya, who represents Mumbai north east parliamentary constituency in the Lok Sabha, also said that the full report is expected to take about six months.

Five people, four crew members including two pilots and a pedestrian, lost their lives when the 12-seater Beechcraft King Air C90 aircraft, belonging to private charter operator UY Aviation, crashed into an under-construction building in the busy Ghatkopar suburb of north east Mumbai on June 28 during a test flight.

The AAIB, which is the apex aircraft investigation agency under the civil aviation ministry, has been entrusted with the probe.

“Had meeting with DG Beer Singh Rai & his colleague of AAIB Delhi on Ghatkopar Airplane Crash. Preliminary report expected in few days, final report in 6 months,” Somaiya said in a tweet.

He also wanted to put to rest speculation that the aircraft, which had not flown for years did not have a certificate of airworthiness from the directorate of airworthiness under the directorate general of civil aviation.

“Plane has test run certificate,” the BJP MP said in his tweet.

Prabhat Kathuria, the husband of Marya Zuberi, the co-pilot who along with four others was killed in the incident, has publicly raised several questions over the test flight.

Kathuria, in a statement last week, wanted to know from the concerned authorities about “who allowed the flight to take off in the first place,” while citing DGCA norms that bars test flights of small planes in rainy weather.

Meanwhile, in a related development, Kerala-based lawyer Yeshwanth Shenoy, who had filed a PIL in Bombay High Court seeking its intervention on height norm violations by constructions around the Mumbai airport, has sough a CBI probe into the plane crash besides appointment of a court of inquiry.

In a letter to the civil aviation minister today, Shenoy said, “I have filed a police complaint…I request you to ensure that the investigation by the DGCA officials be immediately stopped and the central government appoints a court of inquiry as was done after the Mangalore plane crash.”

“As regards the criminal investigation is concerned, the same be transferred to the CBI as the state police is inadequately equipped to conduct investigation related to an aircrash,” he said in the letter.

He also demanded grounding of the entire fleet of planes and choppers being maintained by the MRO services provider Indamer Aviation, till investigation is completed.

Indamer had repaired the aircraft that crashed at Ghatkopar during the test flight.

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