New Delhi: At least 10 BSF troopers were killed when a chartered plane crashed a few minutes after take-off from the IGI airport here on Tuesday morning, officials said.
"All 10 Border Security Force troopers have been killed," fire officials said.
The Aviation sources said the accident happened at around 9.50 am when the plane crashed into the airport boundary wall and landed in a sewage treatment plant while returning back due to apparent technical problem five minutes after it took off for Ranchi.
The aircraft lost contact with the Air Traffic Control, at 9.50 am, they said. BSF sources said the technicians were on the way to Ranchi to repair a helicopter. Eyewitnesses said the plane hit a wall before bursting into flames and then crashed into a water body. Joint Commissioner Police Devender Pathak said they have recovered two bodies from the crash.
"We saw a plane spiralling down which crashed near the wall where work was going on. I could sport one body. A labourer who was working was also injured," an eye witness Suraj told reporters.
The area was engulfed in dense smoke and fire with pieces of aircraft spread around. Delhi Fire Service cheif A K Sharma said 15 tenders have rushed to the spot. An inquiry has been ordered by the Civil Aviation Ministry.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the crash and has rushed to the crash site. The 10 on board the ill-fated aircraft comprised the pilot, who was a second-in-command rank officer of SIB, the co-pilot, who is a Deputy Commandent, six technicians, one engineer and one crew member.
The DG-level talks between India and Bangladesh scheduled today in Dhaka have been cancelled in the wake of the crash, according to BSF sources. "This is a very unfortunate incident happened today...we have issued orders for a probe into the matter and as soon as we will get any update on this, we will inform you," Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma told reporters. Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said authorities were in the process of setting up a Board of Inquiry.
"We are trying to identify a pilot who has flown the type of aircraft that has crashed," he said.
The BSF air wing has a fleet of four fixed wing aircraft--one Embraer, two Avros and the crashed Superking (SKA B-200). Besides 15 helicopters consisting of six MI-17 1V, two advanced Mi-17 V5 choppers, six Advance Light Helicopters (Dhruv) and one Cheetah helicopter operating under the command of the Union Home Ministry.
The Superking was inducted in 1982 in the border guarding force for air support roles.