M A I N   N E W S

Jet crew suspended for serious lapses
They panicked as fire alarm went off, didn’t follow standard rules: DGCA
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 28
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) today hauled up the Jet Airways staff for serious procedural lapses in dealing with an emergency evacuation aboard its Mumbai-Chennai flight yesterday.

As many as 14 passengers sustained injuries during the evacuation that was triggered by a false fire alarm. Pilots and crew members of the flight (9W2302) have been suspended.

“A preliminary probe has indicated serious lapses on part of the crew in dealing with an emergency,” the DGCA said. Treating it as a “serious incident”, the Pilot in Command (PIC), a co-pilot, four cabin crew members and four additional crew members have been suspended till further orders. The incident will be investigated by a team comprising director, air safety, Mumbai, flight operation inspector and cabin safety in charge of the DGCA.

The DGCA has removed the cockpit voice recorder and the digital flight data recorder to analyse voice recordings and called a meeting of heads of training of all airlines to review the flight procedures, especially in the wake of an emergency.

On Friday, 131 passengers, including an infant, faced a harrowing experience when during taxiing a fire was observed in the left engine following which the captain of the aircraft ordered evacuation of passengers.

After the evacuation, the plane was inspected under the supervision of a DGCA team and no fire or smoke was observed in the engine area.

Aviation experts say the captain probably raised the alarm without checking cockpit systems and the crew too failed to ensure proper deplaning of passengers. Many passengers were deplaned with their baggage and footwear on — the main reason behind the injuries. There are also reports that some passengers jumped from the aircraft following the pandemonium.

“Apparently, the pilot panicked. He could have avoided the chaos by simply following the standard operating procedures. He did not confirm fire through cockpit indications and it seems that he also did not bother to cross-check with the ATC. The cabin crew also panicked and did not tell the passengers to remove their shoes and leave the hand baggage behind while deplaning,” said experts.

Already, serious doubts are being raised over the abilities of professionals being churned out by some aviation institutes in the country.

A large number of pilots, cabin crew and aircraft engineers are being trained by institutes that have sprung up following the boom in the aviation sector. There is a feeling that some may not be strictly adhering to the rules and regulations while imparting training to their students.

Recently, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel asked the DGCA to audit all aviation training institutes in the country to enhance air-safety standards in the country. The DGCA is already in the process of auditing these institutes.

Meanwhile, the carrier said the precautionary evacuation was carried out “in the interest of safety of the passengers and the crew”. It claimed that the crew carried out the emergency evacuation “in accordance with the standard operating procedures”.

“The welfare of our guests and crew is of prime importance and we are taking appropriate steps to ensure the same,” a statement by the airline said. 





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