Procedural lapses led to AI engineer's death: report

Rushing crew to operate a delayed flight also a cause

Procedural lapses led to AI engineer's death: report

Overlooking procedures appeared to have claimed the life of an Air In­dia ground service engineer when he was sucked into the engine of an aircraft at the Mumbai airport in December 2015, an investigation has suggested.

The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) report on the incident said non-adherence to standard operating procedure and rushing crew to operate a delayed flight resulted in the tragic incident.

The report, submitted to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) recently, is based on the December 16, 2015, incident in Mumbai airport when Air India ground staff Subramaniam died after he was sucked into the engine of an aircraft. According to the report, the crew who operated the Rajkot-Mumbai flight were to fly the Mumbai-Hyderabad service.

However, the Mumbai-Hyderabad flight was delayed as the Rajkot flight did not land on time.

This prompted another Air India pilot on the Hyderabad flight to take clearance from the ATC to handle the aircraft.
The pilot assigned to fly the plane reached the cockpit just seven minutes before the scheduled take off.

He told the panel that he took clearance from the ground engineer and right clearance from the co-pilot regarding obstruction.

During pushback, the engines were started and the parking brakes were put on after reaching the required position on taxiway.

The co-pilot then put the parking brakes off, switched on the taxi light and gave power to taxi.
However, four ground personnel were still around the nose of the aircraft.

The aircraft then started moving and Subramaniam was standing with his back towards the aircraft and with his headphone on.

‘Engine came very close’
“The aircraft’s right-hand side of the engine came very close to the deceased and sucked him. All the other ground personnel ran away from the aircraft and the tow truck driver also took the tow truck away from the aircraft leaving the tow bar,” the report said.

The co-pilot had told the panel that the ground staff had “given clearance followed by thumbs up” and not used torch for clearance.

However, the ground staff refuted this saying the deceased staff had “neither shown thumb or pin to pilot nor by any other person”.

According to the operations manual, one person from the ground crew must be designated as marshaller and give a thumbs up signal or at night with marshalling flash light wand.
 

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