Gurgaon’s Medanta Medicity air ambulance crash lands near Thailand killing pilot

Gurgaon's Medanta Medicity air ambulance crash lands near Thailand killing pilot

NEW DELHI, March07: The pilot of an air ambulance, which was flying from Delhi to Bangkok to bring a critically-ill patient to Gurgaon’s Medanta Medicity, reportedly died after the plane crash-landed in Thailand on Sunday en route its destination. The single-engine Pilatus PC-12 aircraft with two pilots and three Medanta doctors was about 20 minutes away from Bangkok when it developed a snag.

The Royal Thai Air Force airfield at Nakhon Pathom was the closest when the problem occurred. “The pilots may have tried to land there but the initial reports suggest that they could not do so and the plane landed in a field outside the boundary wall of this airport. And then caught fire,” said a source.

While the five people on board the plane (VT-AVG) survived the crash-landing, sources said all of them suffered burn injuries and were later airlifted to Bangkok for treatment. “One pilot had suffered 80% burns. He succumbed to his injuries at the Bangkok Hospital. One doctor has suffered 45% burn injuries. The three others have got less than 24% burns,” said a source.

Despite repeated attempts Air Charter Services, the Delhi-based charter company whose plane had crash-landed, did not comment on this accident. Director general of civil aviation B S Bhullar could not be contacted as well. Medanta sources said the hospital was rushing a team of doctors to take care of its medicos.

The single-engine aircraft had taken off from Delhi at 8.42am on Sunday. It took a refuelling stop in Kolkata and took off from there at 2.25pm for Bangkok. A few hours later when the aircraft was over 700km from Bangkok, it developed a snag and was forced to crash-land at the nearest airport, which happened to be Nakhon Pathom in central Thailand soon after 7pm (all times local).

It could not be ascertained what had gone wrong with the plane by the time of filing this report. The Pilatus PC-12 involved in the crash-landing was a relatively young one, manufactured in 2008. It is a single-engine turboprop passenger and cargo plane manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland.

 The Aircraft Accident Investigation Committee of Thailand has classified the crash-landing as an accident and will investigate it. India’s air crash investigator Raje Bhatnagar will be an accredited member of the Thai probe panel.
 However, the probe may not be easy. “The Pilatus PC-12 reportedly did not have a cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR), which records specific aircraft performance parameters,” said a source. The FDR collects and records data from a variety of aircraft sensors onto a medium, which is designed to survive an accident. With the captain suffering less than 24% burns, the investigators hope to get all details of what went wrong from him. The engine records of this plane will be taken from the charter company.
Incidentally, another Pilatus PC-12 (VT-ACF) of the same charter company had crashed in Faridabad in May 2011 due to bad weather while flying as an air ambulance to bring a patient from Patna to Delhi.