IAF denies giving clean chit to Prez copter pilots


“The court of inquiry into the incident is still incomplete and it is too premature to come to any conclusions on who was at fault,” Indian Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander T K Singha said here in the wake of TV channel reports claiming preliminary findings showed the pilots were not at fault.

Singha said the probe would take more time to come up with a report, which would have to go through senior IAF officers before the findings are finalised.
“So it is not correct to jump to conclusions on the probe results as some TV channels are doing,” he said.

The Indian Air Force had ordered the court of inquiry into the rotor blades of an Mi-8 helicopter hitting an asbestos structure at the Bhubaneshwar airport while taxiing to the parking bay after landing there on Thursday.
The helicopter was carrying President Pratibha Patil, her husband Devi Singh Sekhawat and Orissa Governor M C Bhandari

All on board the aircraft walked out safe, but the rotor blades of the chopper, which was part of a three-helicopter entourage, was damaged.
On the day of the mishap, there were conflicting reports from the Indian Air Force and the Bhubaneswar ground staff on how the incident occurred.

While the Indian Air Force claimed that the ground staff had not marked the taxiing line for the chopper to reach the parking bay, the latter alleged that the pilots had refused directions of the “follow-me” jeep to guide the chopper to the apron.

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