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20th Anniversary Of The Crash Of VT-DJJ

Sun Jun 23, 2002 12:33 am

On 22 June 1982, an Air India 707-437 VT-DJJ named "Gaurishankar" was operating a service from HongKong to Mumbai via Bangkok. The aircraft was under the command of a senior 707 check pilot, with a co-pilot who had recently been selected for 707 command training as well. There were 99 passengers and 12 crew members on board.

The aircraft was attempting to land at BOM in a monsoon rainstorm and had already gone around once due to poor conditions. The co-pilot was at the controls as they made a second approach. The aircraft came in fast and touched down heavily, bouncing once and then hydroplaning on a patch of water when brakes and reverse thrust were applied. The captain took over control and provided go-around thrust, but there was insufficient runway left to take off. At the last minute he swung the plane off the runway and into a drainage ditch where she came to a stop.

Unfortunately, during this violent manuever and stop, the tail empennage seperated from the fuselage and collapsed onto the rear section of the plane. Flight Purser Sampat Kumar and Air Hostess Elizabeth Job were seated on the rear jumpseats for landing and were killed when the vertical fin collapsed on top of them, as were 15 passengers seated in the rear section. The forward exits were blocked by the angle of the fuselage, so the remaining passengers evacuated the aircraft succesfully through the overwing exits. The flight crew exited the aircraft through the cockpit emergency hatch.

The investigation ruled that the pilot in command was partly to blame for the accident due to his decision to proceed with the landing in poor conditions (although they were above prescribed minima) and for poor decision making when he elected to go around with insufficient runway remaining. He was stripped of his command and flew the remainder of his career from the right seat. The first officer was also found partly at fault and lost his chance for an immediate command. He finally achieved his fourth stripe almost 10 years later on the Airbus aircraft. The Flight Engineer and Navigator both took early retirement following this incident. The surviving cabin crew continued with Air India and many are still flying today.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
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RE: 20th Anniversary Of The Crash Of VT-DJJ

Sun Jun 23, 2002 12:43 am

A very sad event; it's interesting to note that since the tragic terrorist attack on AI 182 in June 1985 (the anniversary of which is tomorrow!), AI has had a near perfect safety record, with no fatalities. Only an engine fire on landing (on an old 742 in DEL), which resulted in a W/O, is recorded since then. Up to then, AI's record had been fairly poor and they lost a good few 707s (4 or 5, if I recall correctly) and the 747, which crashed on 01/01/78.