Death Of 3 Pilots In 2 Days Sparks Concern

Death Of 3 Pilots In 2 Days Sparks Concern

Within a mere span of 48 hours, three pilots have tragically lost their lives, raising questions about the industry’s approach to the demanding nature of pilot duty.

Kashif KhusroUpdated: Friday, August 18, 2023, 04:38 PM IST
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The aviation industry is grappling with a series of pilot deaths, which have turned the spotlight on pilot fatigue. Within a mere span of 48 hours, three pilots have tragically lost their lives, raising questions about the industry’s approach to the demanding nature of pilot duty. Close on the heels of the fatalities involving Qatar Airways and LATAM Airlines, the latest Indian victim is a 40-year-old IndiGo Airlines captain who collapsed and passed away just moments before boarding his flight from Nagpur to Pune.

The pilot, identified as Manoj Subramanyam, was about to commence his duties when he suddenly lost consciousness. Despite swift medical intervention, he was declared dead upon arrival at a local hospital. A preliminary report from KIMS-Kingsway Hospital suggests that Subramanyam suffered a “sudden cardiac arrest”.

Another similar instance is that of Ivan Andaur, a 56-year-old pilot flying a LATAM Airlines flight from Miami to Santiago; he passed away mid-flight after collapsing in the aircraft’s restroom.

Likewise, a Qatar Airways pilot from India lost his life on a DelhiDoha flight after falling ill. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has weighed in on the matter, with a senior official disclosing that the IndiGo pilot had rested for 27 hours before his ill-fated flight. “The pilot had on Wednesday operated two sectors -- TrivandrumPune-Nagpur -- between 3 am and 7 am. Thereafter the pilot had 27 hours of rest and was scheduled to operate for four sectors on Thursday.

Departure from Nagpur at 1 pm was to be his first sector,” the DGCA official said. Experts are urging airlines to adopt more stringent measures to combat fatigue, such as limiting the number of flight sectors pilots can operate within a certain time frame and implementing better rest and recovery protocols.

“Flight Duty Time Limitations are a joke in our country. Sometime pilots are so overworked that they do not have time to recover from long-haul flights,” said a senior captain of a leading airline. “The deceased pilot’s schedule shows the demanding nature of pilot duties. Having operated two sectors the previous day, the pilot was granted a mere 27 hours of rest before embarking on a demanding four-sector schedule,” the senior captain said.

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