The Super King aircraft, which was under the operational command of the Border Security Force (BSF) and which crashed on Tuesday killing all the 10 people on board, was allowed to fly despite exhausting its shelf life. Officials in the BSF said that the fact that the aircraft was unsuitable to fly was communicated several times to bureaucrats in the Ministry of Home Affairs, but due to lack of any response from them, the BSF was forced to use the same aircraft in absence of any alternative arrangement.
“This aircraft was facing technical problems since long as it was over 20 years old. Only last month, it had developed a technical snag after which the technical staff of the BSF refused to give an NOC to it. The same was also communicated to the MHA through proper channels, in which we said that this particular aircraft was unfit for flying and should be replaced with a new one. However, no action was taken by the MHA bureaucrats concerned who dismissed the requisition request as a normal development. If they had acted in time, the lives of our men would not have been lost,” a BSF official said.
Officials said the aircraft had just returned from operating in Jammu, Gujarat, Ranchi and Rajasthan, and was again ordered to be taken to Ranchi so that the officials, who died in the crash, could be moved there. The deceased were technicians who were going to Ranchi.
Officially, the BSF has claimed that the crashed Super King aircraft was completely “airworthy” and was flying “very well” and has refuted allegations about any possible defect in the ill-fated plane.
“This aircraft was 20-years-old and in aviation (domain), an aircraft has life till 40-45 years. In aviation (domain), such a plane is not considered old as required parts are changed from time to time. Engines are overhauled. A major overhauling of this aircraft’s engines was done at the Beechcraft factory in Canada about six months back,” BSF Director General D.K. Pathak has said. Pathak’s claims were questioned by BSF officials who said that a probe into the mishap will reveal that the technical wing of the BSF has sent repeated correspondence to the MHA informing the ministry of the fact that the aircraft was not fit for flying.