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Mumbai: Two ATC officials taken off duty

February 10, 2009 21:19 IST

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Two Air Traffic Control officials in Mumbai [Images] were on Tuesday taken off duty -- pending an inquiry by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation -- into the near miss between an Air India [Images] plane and a helicopter belonging to the President's entourage.

The two officials have been 'de-rostered' during the inquiry, sources said while clarifying that they have not been placed under suspension. The identity of the officials has not been revealed.

The action came as an eight-member DGCA-appointed probe team, led by Joint Director General (Investigation) A K Chopra, began investigation into the incident which had the potential of leading to a major disaster.

The Air India plane, with 150 passengers on board, almost hit the helicopter belonging to the President's entourage at the Mumbai airport runway, but a collision was averted as the pilot of the aircraft applied emergency brakes, bringing it to a screeching halt.

The Delhi-bound IC-866, an Airbus A-321 aircraft, was about to take off when the pilot saw one of the three Air Force helicopters which was carrying the Presidential staff.

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