Air India Engineer Had Back To Engine When He Was Sucked In, Revealed Colleagues

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Chennai: An Air India flight taking off from runway after the air port was suspended from operations last week, following waterlogging caused by heavy rainfall in Chennai on Sunday. PTI Photo by R Senthil Kumar(PTI12_6_2015_000172B)

NEW DELHI: A mail on the death of an Air India engineer who was sucked into the engine of a running aircraft, an Airbus A 319, at the Mumbai airport on Wednesday, reveals that Standard Operating Procedure may not have been followed during take-off.

Pradeep Singh Rawat, a maintenance manager of the private airline IndiGo in Mumbai, wrote the internal mail after speaking to the colleagues of the engineer, Ravi Subramanian, after his gruesome death last night. Mr Rawat says that a helper who was standing not far from the engineer had a narrow escape because he sat down instantly once the aircraft started unexpectedly moving.

“No chocks were placed after push back,” Mr Rawat writes. Chocks are wedges that are placed to stop the wheels from inadvertently moving when an aircraft’s engines are started up.

He also wrote that those witness to the tragedy claim that no clearance signals were taken from the engineer before taxi out and there was lack of proper coordination between the pilots and ground.

He says the incident took place after the engineer instructed the helper to remove the tow bar that is used to push the aircraft. “The helper, ET Shinde, removed the two bar and in all this time, the technician was facing the tow truck with his back towards the engine. In the meanwhile as per information, captain got taxi clearance from ATC (Air Traffic Control) and he was informed by co-pilot the [area around the] aircraft is clear.”

“The technician (was) still on headset and with his back still facing the engines (when the) aircraft started to move with both engines on. With no chocks placed, the aircraft started moving and sucked the technician still on headset. The helper who was (witness) to this incident immediately sat down and got saved.”

In his letter marked to several others in his airline, Rawat says “human factors” played an important role in this tragedy and also wrote on the importance of patience and the need to follow Standard Operating Procedures.

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Nirmalya Ghosh
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