New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS) Nine BSF troopers and a Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) co-pilot were killed when a chartered plane flying to Ranchi crashed here on Tuesday morning soon after take off.
The pilot and co-pilot died in the incident so did eight others of the Border Security Force, the BSF said.
BSF Director General D.K. Pathak announced a compensation of Rs.15 lakh for the families of each deceased.
“An amount of Rs.15 lakh will be given from the BSF internal fund in addition to Rs.10 lakh, which is the ex-gratia from the government,” he told media.
The passengers were identified as Deputy Commandant D. Kumar, Inspectors S.N. Sharma, Ravindra Kumar Yadav, Sub-Inspectors Chotte Lal Sharma, Surender Singh, Rabinder Kumar, Assistant Sub-Inspector D.P. Chauhan and Constable R.K. Rawat.
The pilot was Bhagwati Prasad Bhatt, a resident of Dehradun, and the co-pilot was Rajesh Shivrain, who was attached to the SSB. Shivrain hailed from Bhiwani in Haryana.
Two of the nine BSF personnel hailed from Haryana. Three of them were residents of Uttar Pradesh, one from Bihar and the remaining two personnel belonged to Punjab and Odisha. All of them were residing in Delhi.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said the government had ordered an inquiry.
Witnesses said the aircraft appeared to be unstable as it crossed the boundary wall of the Indira Gandhi International Airport — which also has an area reserved for the military.
“It took a kind of U-turn, then suddenly went down, crashed and exploded in a huge ball of fire,” a young man who saw the horrific accident told journalists. “We saw thick black smoke rising up.”
A railway employee close to the site said he and his colleagues saw “a huge fire” after the plane came down. “There was a lot of fire all around that nothing else could be seen.”
A BSF official said that VT-BSA (Bombay Singapore Alfa) Superking B-200 aircraft took off from Palam Airport at 9.40 a.m.
“The flight was on way to Ranchi ferrying six Mi-17 V5 technicians for repair of Mi-17 V5 stationed at Ranchi, the official said.
The official said a phone call from Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) monitoring station was received at BSF air wing control room Palam at 9.45 a.m. about some mishap with VT-BSA.
“At 9.50 a.m. the air traffic control (ATC) Palam informed that VT-BSA had crashed in Shahabad village near Dwarka sector 8,” he said.
Twenty fire tenders battled the flames, the Delhi Fire Service said.
President Pranab Mukherjee said he was sad to learn about the deaths. “My thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was pained by the loss of lives. “My thoughts are with the families of the deceased.”