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DGCA, Air force to probe 'near miss' at Mumbai airport

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | February 09, 2009 17:26 IST

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The government has ordered a high level probe into the circumstances during which the presidential helicopter was on the same landing strip where an Indian Airlines plane was taking off.

" Yes, the incident did take place but President was not present in any of the helicopters involved in the mishap at the time of the incident," Rashtrapati Bhavan [Images] sources told rediff.com.

At the time of the incident the President  in Mumbai [Images] and is expected to be back in Delhi [Images] on Monday evening.

The ministry of civil aviation has initiated a probe into the incident. It would look into the records of conversations between the ATC and  the pilots.

The Indian Air Force has also ordered an inquiry into the incident. The IAF also vehemently denied its pilots were at fault in the mix-up and claimed they had meticulously followed the instructions given to them by the Bombay ATC.
    
An IAF spokesman told PTI, "the pilots of the chopper had followed the instructions from Bombay Approach meticulously. But we have ordered an inquiry into the incident to further learn about the averted mishap."
    
He said the Presidential entourage was cleared to take off from INS Kunjali, a Naval air base, and land at Santa
Cruz airport "between the 'W' and 'R' taxiways."
    
"These instructions were clearly followed in letter and principle," he said. But, the IAF would follow the procedures in such incidents to ascertain the cause of the goof-up and hence ordered the inquiry, he added.
    
The Air India [Images] flight was about to take off on the same runway on which the chopper landed, forcing the pilot to abort
take-off.

Additional Reportage: PTI






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