Pilot Amit Kumar and copilot Rohit Singh made the decision to land the aircraft on a swampy field in southwest Delhi after both the engines of the craft died, India Today reported.
Authorities hailed as “heroes” on Tuesday two young pilots who crash-landed an air ambulance from Patna on a swampy field in southwest Delhi after the engines shut down while approaching the nearby airport’s runway, as the seven people on board had a miraculous escape.
Officials said pilot Amit Kumar and copilot Rohit Singh had detected problems in the Beechcraft King Air C90 plane about 10 minutes before landing. They notified ground-based controllers, or ATC, about the situation and swiftly decided to put the aircraft down on a piece of land with no plants and trees.
“We landed safely and immediately informed the concerned department,” Amit Kumar told MAIL TODAY over the phone. The plane belonging to Chandigarh-based private operator Alchemist Airways was ferrying five passengers, including a heart patient from Patna. No one suffered any major injuries.
According to an ATC official, the pilots landed the 1989-make airplane with such dexterity that it was remarkably intact. Sources say the permit of the aircraft operator will expire in November.
In May 2011, an air ambulance had crashed in a colony in Harayana’s Faridabad city, killing all 10 people onboard. The aircraft was also on its way from Patna to Delhi.
Experts are also pointed out that landing a plane on bumpy ground requires great skill. Otherwise it can prove fatal.
“We had got a message from the pilot of VT EQO (plane’s registration number) that one engine of the aircraft may have failed and the other engine was carrying the load. But before we could have reacted, the pilot again said that the engines had stopped and they had to make an emergency landing,” an airport official said. “After some time, we got information that aircraft VT EQO had landed on a muddy tract in Najafgarh area, almost 10 kilometers from Delhi airport.” According to ATC officials, the pilots made the decision to set down the aircraft in a field.
“The young pilots took the final call to land the aircraft as their distance from the ground was reducing every second,” the official said.
Presence of mind
Amit Kumar lives in Mumbai with his wife and four-year-old daughter. Rohit Singh has become a pilot recently and was assisting Kumar.
Delhi Police officials who responded promptly and reached the spot along with fire department personnel also applauded the pilots for their presence of mind. “When cops reached, they found that everyone was fine and locals were praising the pilots,” DCP southwest Surender Kumar said. “The pilots saved lives, which should be appreciated.”
The six-seater plane crash-landed at around 2.40 pm at Kair village in Najafgarh. Aviation regulator DGCA has already started an inquiry.
“The aircraft was carrying a 61-year-old cardiac patient, Virender Rai, who was being flown to Delhi. He was taken to Medanta hospital in Gurugram immediately after the incident. The other passengers were taken to a nearby government hospital for medical examination,” a senior police official said.
According to the DGCA, the aircraft was registered with it on October 21, 2001. It weighs 4581kg and can accommodate six passengers.
“We received an emergency call from the pilot. Both the engines of the aircraft had reportedly failed. They made a safe landing. The DGCA is looking into the incident,” civil aviation minister Mahesh Sharma told reporters.
A six-seater aircraft, of the same make and model, belonging to the Punjab government had crashed near Ludhiana eight years ago, killing the pilot and copilot.
Last year, an 11-seater plane carrying 10 BSF officers, including seven technicians, crashed near Dwarka in Delhi. All 10 people on board were killed. The plane had developed a technical snag soon after taking off from Delhi airport and was returning to the runway when it hit a tree and crashed.