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14 hurt in plane stampede, Jet Airways held for procedural lapses
MUMBAI, AUG 28 (IANS):
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Published on 29 Aug. 2010 12:16 AM IST
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The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Saturday hit out at Jet Airways for “serious procedural lapses” in dealing with an emergency evacuation aboard its Mumbai-Chennai flight Friday night in which 14 passengers were injured.
It has also ordered the suspension of 10 Jet Airways crew members, including the flight commander, a co-pilot, four crew members and four additional crew members after holding them responsible for the near-stampede that occurred inside the aircraft Friday night.
The DGCA said in a statement that 14 passengers were injured during the evacuation.
The DGCA said the action against the crew of the Jet Airways flight 9W-2302 was taken after a preliminary inquiry report found they were at fault and charged them with “serious procedural lapses”.
Its preliminary inquiry has indicated lapses in dealing with the emergency and evacuation of the passengers as per existing procedures laid down in aircraft rules and regulations.
Terming the incident as “serious”, the DGCA said it would be investigated under Rule 77C of Aircraft Rules, 1937 by a team comprising Director of Air Safety, Mumbai, Flight Operations Inspector and the Cabin Safety In-Charge of DGCA.
The DGCA said that Friday night, around 9 p.m., the scheduled flight with 131 passengers including one infant, four cabin crew, nine additional crew and one trainee pilot, was in the process of being operated on the Mumbai-Chennai sector.
While the aircraft was taxiing towards the runway, one of the additional crew members, travelling as a passenger, occupying seat no. 35A, apparently observed fire on the left engine of the aircraft and informed one of his colleagues on the next seat, who also claimed to have seen the fire.
The colleague, sitting on seat no. 35B, immediately went and contacted the captain from the right door location and also the cabin crew assigned to the left door.
The aircraft commander immediately asked the left side cabin crew to confirm the fire and report, which the lady crew did and confirmed to the captain.
On receiving the confirmation, the captain pulled the fire handles for left engine, the right engine and the auxiliary power unit, but did not discharge any of the fire bottles.
He also ordered the crew to launch the evacuation of the passengers from the aircraft.
Immediately, the escape slides on the exits, including the over-the-wing emergency exits, were deployed, while the Mumbai International Airport’s emergency fire and rescue teams were rushed to where the aircraft was stationed.
During the evacuation, which involved the passengers sliding down the emergency chutes, the DGCA said that some passengers were injured.
Shortly after the emergency evacuation, which was completed within a few minutes, the aircraft was inspected by a team supervised by the DGCA.
“Both the engines were checked and boroscope inspection was carried out. No fire or smoke was observed in the engine area. No abnormality was observed in the engines and its systems,” the DGCA asserted Saturday.
The DGCA has also retrieved the cockpit voice recorder (VCR) and the digital flight data recorder (DFDR) from the aircraft to facilitate further inquiry into the incident.
The DGCA has also summoned a meeting of the heads of training of all airlines to review the training procedures of cabin and flight crew, particularly during emergencies and evacuation procedures.

 
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