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Durgapur turbulence case: SpiceJet pilot's licence suspended for six months

NEW DELHI, Aug 21: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has suspended the licence of the Spicejet pilot, who flew the aircraft through a severe air turbulence at Durgapur while descending in bad weather on May 1 causing injuries to 14 passengers and three crew members, for six months.

The aviation regulator had asked the airline to explain as to why it was decided to go ahead with landing despite the aircraft facing turbulence in the storm and rain. Soon after the mishap an inquiry was also conducted. The DGCA had also off-rostered the involved crew, the aircraft maintenance engineer (AME) and in- charge of the maintenance control centre of SpiceJet.

It was also reported then that the weather radar of the aircraft was not functioning properly and the bad weather could not be assessed.

The airline had claimed that the seat belt sign was on and multiple announcements were also made by crew members asking passengers to remain seated and fasten the seat belts during the turbulence to avoid injuries.

The Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia had assured that the matter was being dealt with with utmost seriousness and that more details on the cause will be shared once the probe is complete.

The flight SG 945 had taken off from Mumbai at 5.13 pm on May 1 and encountered severe turbulence in a storm and heavy rain during its descent at Durgapur airport at around 7.15 pm. It was a close shave for 195 passengers, two pilots and four cabin crew. The plane underwent three major jerks. Fourteen passengers suffered injuries due to the bumps and were taken to hospital on landing. A couple of passengers suffered serious head and spinal injuries, possibly hit by the roof. The plane landed safely at Durgapur.

In another case, the DGCA suspended the licence of a pilot of a chartered plane for one month in a false fuel emergency case. On October 19 last, the pilot flying a charter plane from Bokaro to Ranchi had falsely declared a low fuel emergency to get priority landing as he wanted to avoid hovering.

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