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Did untrained driver cause airport mishap?

Sources say the man operating the specialised fire tender that toppled over was not qualified to operate it, allege that his rash driving led to the accident on Sunday evening

A fire tender that toppled over at the Mumbai airport on Sunday has raised several questions pertaining to safety and qualifications of fire safety officials at the airport.

While some have simply labelled it a minor incident, others are questioning officials about the credentials of those using the specialised equipment. Sources inside the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) have revealed that the man behind the wheel had overshot the speed limit, which is a clear violation of set guidelines.

A fire brigade official on condition of anonymity said that the man was not even qualified to handle the tender. "The man operating the airport crash tender was inexperienced. The ground staff that witnessed the incident maintained that the accident was caused by speeding."

Sources also told MiD DAY that most of the workforce at the MIAL fire station was not certified from the DGCA-approved aviation schools. "There are only two DGCA approved aviation fire training schools, one at Kolkata and another at Delhi. Most of the new recruits are not from these schools and are not taught to operate this kind of machinery," added the fire employee.

On Sunday evening, an airport crash tender, which is a specialised fire engine used at aerodromes and airports in aircraft accidents, tumbled over at the perimeter road near the sub station located near the intersection of runway 1432.

The three firemen Sameer Belose (the driver), Pradeep Kore and Atul Thakur inside the tender were rescued almost immediately after the crash. While Belose and Thakur did not suffer any grievous injuries, Kore was admitted to the ICU of Seven Hills Hospital. 

The other side
Mohan Haridas Kadam, the chief fire officer of MIAL refuted the allegations and said that the accident was not due to human error. "The vehicle toppled over owing to a sharp turn. The accident was not the fault of the driver."

When asked about the comments of inexperienced hands, Kadam simply answered, "I don't want to comment any further."

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