MUMBAI: A CCTV camera in a building in Mumbai’s heavily populated Ghatkopar suburb has captured the final moments of the small chartered plane that crashed and burst into flames, instantly killing the four occupants in it and a person on the street below.
The video shows how the crashing plane hits a red vehicle on the road, and then immediately turns into a ball of fire.
The huge flames and smoke, spread over a 50-metre radius, were accompanied with a loud bang which led to locals running out of their houses and rushing to the crash site.
“There was a loud bang and then we saw the plane,” said a teenager who lives in the neighbourhood.
A resident of an apartment complex, Patel Niwas, added: “We are used to planes flying overhead. We thought there was an explosion at the construction site. Only later we realized that a plane had crashed.”
The plane crashed through the boundary wall of the under construction residential complex and burst into flames leaving a strong smell of aviation fuel all over the area. Aircraft parts like the engines, propellers and landing gear were completely burnt even before the fire brigade could reach the spot.
The victims have been identified as Capt. Pradeep Rajput, woman pilot Capt. Mariya, woman aircraft maintenance engineer Surabhi, who was more than two months pregnant, and her colleague, an aircraft junior technician Manish Pandey, both of Indamer Aviation Pvt Ltd.
The 12-seater plane had taken off from the Juhu airstrip on a test flight. It wanted to make an emergency landing at the Mumbai airport but it crashed some distance away in Ghatkopar, killing all four on board – two pilots and two maintenance engineers.
The plane, a Beechcraft King Air C 90 turboprop, was sold by the Uttar Pradesh government to a Mumbai-based UY aviation company in 2014. “The deal was done after the plane had met with an accident in Allahabad,” UP official Avnish Awasthi was quoted as telling ANI.
The cause of the crash is not known and it occurred in the compound of the under construction Jagruti apartments, thereby averting a potentially major disaster.