Boeing, US aviation officials to assist Air India crash probe

New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) Officials from Boeing and the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will visit India to provide technical assistance to investigators after an Air India Express Boeing 737 crashed in Mangalore killing 159 people, officials said.

Officials in the civil aviation ministry here said it was obligatory for NTSB to assist in air crash investigations in foreign countries if the aircraft in question, or a part, is made in the US, has the country’s registry, or was deployed by an American operator.

The agency has so far participated in 40 overseas investigations in the past two years, including the one at Tripoli May 12 that killed 103 people, with one child miraculously escaping.

That aircraft was a Airbus A330-200 fitted with the US-made General Electric engines.

‘Boeing is sending a team to provide technical assistance to the investigation at the invitation of the Indian authorities,’ the company said in a statement soon after the news of the crash spread.

The aircraft flown by Air India Express from Dubai to Mangalore that crashed was a two-and-a-half-year-old Boeing 737-800. It carried 166 people, including 19 children and four infants.

This specific make of the aircraft entered into service in 1998 with a capacity for 162 passengers in a two-class layout, or 189 in one class.

Saturday’s crash took place at the Bajpe airstrip, about 30 km from Mangalore — a hilly area that is considered one of the most difficult airports to take off and land.

‘The aircraft touched down on runway 24 slightly beyond the touchdown zone, overshot the runway and went into the valley beyond the runway,’ the civil aviation ministry said.

-Indo-Asian News Service


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