Pilot, trainee from Mumbai killed in crash near Gondia

Nagpur: A four-seater training aircraft crashed into the Wainganga river near Gondia on Wednesday morning, killing both the flying instructor and the trainee pilot, identified as Himani Kalyani from Mumbai. At the controls was former Indian Air Force pilot Capt. Ranjan Gupta.

Gondia SP Dilip Patil-Bhujbal said Himani’s parents are employed with private carrier Indigo Airlines and have rushed to Gondia from Mumbai, while a team of Directorate-General of Civil Aviation investigators will also be reaching the place. “Only then can we know about the exact reason behind the crash. The bodies of both victims have been recovered as also the plane debris which was fished out of the river waters,” Patil-Bhujbal said.

The training aircraft DA-42 took off on a training sortie from the Birsi airport at Gondia around 9.24 am, but around 20 minutes later lost contact with the local air traffic control. Thereafter, according to local eyewitnesses, the aircraft apparently developed some snag and the pilot attempted to land it on some plain ground near the river. However, eyewitnesses said the plane got entangled in wires running across the river to measure its water level and crashed into the waters.

The airplane broke into three pieces on landing on the river, eyewitnesses said. Later in the evening, local channels beamed images of the aircraft having broken into pieces with hundreds of villagers rushing for a glimpse of the broken plane.

The police immediately cordoned off the crash site. The aircraft belonged to the National Flying Training Institute, a franchisee of a Canadian-based aviation major which has branches and franchises around the world. Patil-Bhujbal said the local police have registered an accident and death case and investigations are underway by various agencies.

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