Blame game? BSF chief calls crashed aircraft 'airworthy' after paying tribute to aircrash victims

New Delhi: The BSF on Wednesday said its crashed Super king aircraft that killed ten of its highly experienced personnel was completely "airworthy" and was flying "very well" as it refuted allegations about any possible defect in the ill-fated plane.

"This aircraft was 20-years-old and in the aviation (domain) an aircraft has life till 40-45 years. In the aviation (domain) such a plane is not considered old as required parts are changed from time to time...like engines are overhauled.

"A major overhauling of this aircraft's engines was done at the Beachcraft factory in Canada about six months back. Only two days back this aircraft did a good duty and a day back it had carried back officers from Bhuj (from the DG/IG meeting)," BSF Director General D K Pathak told reporters.

 Blame game? BSF chief calls crashed aircraft airworthy after paying tribute to aircrash victims

BSF plane crash site. AFP

"There was no problem in the aircraft and it was completely airworthy. I would like to add that till the time an aircraft is airworthy, there is no problem in flying it," he said.

He was speaking after paying the ceremonial last tributes and placing of wreaths on the mortal remains of the ten
personnel who were killed in the crash on Tuesday, at the Safdarjung airport in New Delhi.

The event was also attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Ministers of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary.

He said the main probe into the crash is being done by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and that it would
be "premature" to speculate on the possible reasons for the air mishap.

The Border Security Force Chief said the plane B-200, registered as VT-BSA, was flying about 3-4 days in a week.

"As I said, this aircraft has been flying very well...it had been flying three to four days in a week and there was
absolutely no problem. Whenever any kind of a snag is reported it is promptly attended to and aircraft is not made airborne until it is certified by the technicians that it is worthy to fly," he said.

The plane, he said, was carrying the stipulated load and refuted reports that the crash had something to do with excess weight as a few personnel were asked to board it at the last moment. The plane had a capacity to carry 11 passengers, he said.

"Even if there is a last moment change in the manifest (travelling passenger's list) it doesn't matter because it was
carrying the prescribed and authorised load. So, there was no excess load. There was nothing of that sort...even if numbers were increased, it is immaterial. It (B-200) was carrying its required capacity," he said. Rijiju also said that it would not be correct to describe the ill-fated plane as "old".

"I think it is unfortunate to say that..it was not old. It had completed 20 years and it had got a long life. I have also
travelled in it and it is meant for the travel of Ministers and Director General-rank officers.

"It was completely airworthy. We don't know what went wrong with the aircraft (BSF Seaking B-200) on Tuesday but the
investigation is taking place," Rijiju said.

Pathak said the crash, that happened in Delhi's Dwarka area, has come as a "big setback" to the country's largest border guarding force entrusted with the exclusive air wing of the Union Home Ministry.

"It was definitely a very tragic incident...there is no denying the fact that it is a big loss to us in many ways.

"Number one that we have lost the pilots and crew and in one go we have lost so many technicians for helicopters which
is a very big setback to us," he said.

The BSF Chief said the force will stand with the families of the personnel killed in the crash.

"Any death of any family member of the BSF fraternity saddens us. It pains us. And we are with them in this hour of crisis," he said.

He also rejected reports that indicated that the pilot had raised some objections about the machine before taking off but
these were turned down by the ground staff.

"It's a matter of investigation and it would be premature for me to say anything but whatever little we have come to
know, I can say whatever you are saying, is not correct. But, still it is a matter of investigation and whatever is there it will come out during the investigation," he said.

Pathak said the BSF air wing has always made the best effort to ensure flight safety.

"Let us know the cause of the crash. I can say that no stone is left unturned for maintaining safety of the aircraft. There is absolutely no compromise in safety parameters of flight regulations. Absolutely not," the DG asserted.

He said there is no dearth of funds for the elite wing.

"This maintenance is a continuous process and there is always requirement of funds for any kind of maintenance of any
kind of new acquisition. There is always a gap between the requirement and whatever fund is provided. I will not say that
we are not getting funds or we are starved of funds. We have been getting funds as and when required," Pathak said.

The DG added the families of these martyrs will get Rs 10 lakh from government funds and Rs 20,78,000 from BSF funds.

PTI

Updated Date: Dec 23, 2015 14:43:20 IST