Calicut crash: Government sets up 5-member probe panel; report ‘preferably’ in 5 months

NEW DELHI: The government has set up a five-member panel to probe the crash-landing of Air India Express flight IX-1344 at Kozhikode last Friday. The Boeing 737 NG, flying in from Dubai, had 190 people on board and 18, including both the pilots, lost their lives.
Two of the 77 people onboard the aircraft currently hospitalised are critical. An order issued by Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) director-general Aurobindo Handa on Thursday says the panel should ‘preferably’ submit its report within five months.
Handa has appointed Captain S S Chahar, former designated examiner on Boeing 737NG, as investigator-in-charge “to inquire into the circumstances of this accident. He will be assisted by (these) investigators — Ved Prakash, operations expert; Mukul Bhardwaj, senior aircraft maintenance engineer on the Boeing 737; Group Captain (Dr) Y S Dahiya, aviation medicine expert and Jasbir Singh Larhga, deputy director AAIB,” the order says.

The investigator-in-charge “may take the assistance of other experts/agencies whenever required.” The headquarters of the investigation will be in Delhi. The AAIB “desires to investigate and determine the probable causes and contributory factor(s) leading to the accident and make recommendations to avoid recurrence of such accident in future.”
The ill-fated Boeing 737 (VT-AXH) operating as AI Express Dubai-Calicut flight IX 1344 had 174 passengers, 10 infants and six crew members (two pilots and four cabin crew) — in all 190 people on board. Eighteen people have so far lost their lives in this accident.
An AI Express official said, “At present 77 people who were onboard this aircraft are hospitalised and two are critical.” The rest, 95 people, have been discharged from hospitals.