Air India, Nepal aircraft almost collided mid-air

Air India, Nepal aircraft almost collided mid-air

3 air traffic controllers suspended; Coast Guard chopper makes emergency landing

Kathmandu: A major tragedy was averted on Friday when an Air India and a Nepal Airlines aircraft came close to collision mid-air but the warning systems alerted the pilots whose timely action prevented the disaster, authorities said here on Sunday. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has suspended three employees of the air traffic controller department for "carelessness", according to CAAN spokesperson Jagannath Niroula.

On Friday morning, an Airbus A-320 aircraft of the Nepal Airlines coming to Kathmandu from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and an Air India plane coming to Kathmandu from New Delhi almost collided. The Air India aircraft was descending from 19,000 ft while the Nepal Airlines aircraft was flying at an altitude of 15,000 ft at the same location, Niroula said. After it was shown on the radar that the two aircraft were in proximity, the Nepal Airlines aircraft descended to 7,000 ft, the spokesperson said. The Civil Aviation Authority has formed a three-member probe committee to investigate the matter. The CAAN has suspended the three officers, who were in charge of the control room at the time of the incident. There was no immediate comment from Air India. PTI A Dhruv Mark 3 advanced light helicopter of the Indian Coast Guard was made an emergency landing in Kochi, Kerala on Sunday.

The pilots of the Coast Guard were testing the chopper when the incident took place, said ICG officials. The chopper was at around 25 feet height when it had to make a forced landing. The ICG is working towards resuming the operations of the ALH Dhruv fleet, said ICG officials.

The fleet of the Dhruv choppers has been grounded since March 8 after a Navy chopper met with an accident off the coast of Mumbai. -- ANI

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