26 April, Mumbai
A four-seater trainer aircraft crashed in the Vainganga river on the Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh border on Wednesday killing the pilot and a female trainee after it got entangled in wires above the water line, a top official said here.
Gondia Superintendent of Police (Dr) Dilip Patil-Bhujbal said the victims were a retired Indian Air Force pilot, Capt. Ranjan Gupta, and a trainee, Himani Kalyani, hailing from Mumbai.
Himani’s parents are employed with the private carrier Indigo Airlines and have rushed to Gondia from Mumbai, while a team of Directorate-General of Civil Aviation investigators is en route, the official said.
“The exact reasons behind the crash are yet to be ascertained. The bodies of both victims have been recovered as also the plane debris which was fished out of the river waters,” Patil-Bhujbal told IANS.
He said the aircraft DA-42 took off on a training sortie from the Birsi airport at Gondia around 9.24 a.m. but around 20 minutes later lost contact with the local air traffic control.
Thereafter, according to local eyewitnesses, the aircraft apparently developed some snag and the pilot attempted to land it on some plain ground near the river.
However, the eyewitnesses said the plane got entangled in some wires running across the river to measure its water level and crashed into the shallow waters.
Later in the evening, local channels beamed images of the aircraft having broken into pieces with hundreds of tribals and villagers rushing for a glimpse of the accident site. The police cordoned off the crash site.
The aircraft belonged to the National Flying Training Institute, a franchisee of a Canadian-based aviation major which has branches and franchises around the world.
Patil-Bhujbal said the local police have registered an accident and death case and investigations are underway by various agencies.