Trainee pilot injured as aircraft crash lands

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk crash-landed in a village near Indapur town. (Express)

A trainee pilot from an aviation training institute, who was on a practice sortie in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk aircraft, was injured after crash-landing in a village near Indapur town in Pune district following a snag in the engine on Tuesday afternoon.

No casualties were reported on the ground. The plane crash-landed around 100 feet from a village locality and more than 400 feet from a school.

According to the local police, the aircraft belonging to Academy of Carver Aviation, which had taken off from the airstrip in Baramati town, crash-landed a few minutes later, sometime around 12.30 pm.

The institute operates from Baramati and has its corporate office in Mumbai.

The injured pilot has been identified as Siddharth Titus (30), who has been undergoing training at the academy for the last few months and has logged over 100 hours of flying experience. Titus, who is from Abu Dhabi, sustained severe injuries on his right hand but is said to be out of danger.

Police said officials from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) visited the crash site in the evening.

"In the evening, a team from the DGCA informed the police station that they had come to visit the site and inspect the crashed aircraft as part of their probe," an officer from Pune Rural police said.

Additional Superintendent of Police (Pune Rural) Sandeep Pakhale said, "Information till now suggests that the pilot was trying to land the plane on the road after the snag. But it crash-landed off the road. The pilot sustained injuries and teams from the local police station were sent to the spot."


Spotlight turns to DGCA, AAIB probe

The office of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the aviation watchdog of India, and the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) will conduct a thorough probe into the crash, as per procedure. Investigators will look into the sequence leading to the accident, overall condition of the aircraft, various clearances for the aircraft and the entity which owns it. Based on the probe and in-depth audit, the DGCA then makes safety recommendations.

Assistant inspector S S Kangude, in-charge of Walchandnagar police station, said, "The plane crashed in Rui village and not far from a settlement and a local school. Some people who were working in nearby farms rushed to the plane and took out the injured pilot. He was initially taken to a local hospital for primary medical aid and then shifted to a hospital in Baramati. He is said to be out of danger. "We were told that when the aircraft was at 3,500 feet, it developed a snag and had to crash-land. The pilot managed to evade an electricity pole but then hit branches of a tree before crashing."

After the accident, when The Indian Express contacted the Mumbai office of Carver Aviation, it was provided the contact number of one Capt Javed. At that time, he said, "We have received information that the plane had to crash-land due to a problem and our team is reaching the spot. More details are awaited."

He, however, did not respond to calls afterwards. In the evening, calls made to the office number went unanswered.