Air India Express accident at Calicut was facilitated by the regulator, how?

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  Air India Airbus Landing at Port Blair (Source Dr Puneet) Blaming the pilots alone for an accident is like addressing the symptom rather than the root cause. The root cause of the Calicut accident of IX1344 on 7th Aug 2020 is the poor safety culture prevalent in India and the ineffective regulatory oversight. This landing(YouTube video) can be categorized as a deliberate attempt to endanger the lives of passengers and crew. This is not the Calicut landing but a landing at another critical airport where most of the year the airport experiences tailwinds. Since the airport has a unidirectional runway ( landing from one direction only), the flight crew has no option but to land in tailwinds. The situation worsens during the monsoons when there is a tailwind and the runway is wet and braking action reduces. Action has not been taken either by the regulator or by the airline safety. Why? What is the role of the regulator? The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the regulatory

AirIndia Express Co-Pilot's life & others lost probably to a failed emergency response plan

 

  1. The crash of the Boeing 777 on July 6th 2013, at San Francisco killed two and injured more than 180. The first police and fire personnel arrived at the crash scene in about two minutes, and local officials said brave rescue efforts and effective triage of the many wounded likely saved lives. 

    A stark contrast was the Air India Express IX1344 accident at Calicut airport where the aircraft plunged 35 meters killing 21 people including the pilots. The victims were transported to various hospitals in ambulances and private vehicles. While ambulances are equipped with life saving medical equipment, the Co-Pilot was rushed to a hospital 25km away an hours drive on the backseat of a private car thereby depriving him of the critical life saving equipment. While it was a helping gesture but who ever decided this inhumane treatment to the co-pilot did contribute to the sad demise of the young pilot. The airport emergency response plan which is mandatory and is rehearsed periodically failed miserably. A separate investigation to determine the effectiveness of the Airport & Airline Emergency Response Plan is also required to save as many lives in the future.

    The probable route to the Hospital

    The site of an aircraft accident is quite chaotic with multiple agencies rushing in to perform rescue, firefighting services. Emergency medical services (EMS) providers arrive on the scene of a mass casualty incident (MCI) and implement triage, moving green patients to a single area and grouping red and yellow patients using triage tape or tags. Patients are then transported to local hospitals according to their priority group. Tagged patients arrive at the hospital and are assessed and treated according to their priority.
    Stanford Hospital Emergency Management

  1. Triage


  1. Triage is an inherent part of mass casualty response that prioritizes patients and the care they should receive based on the number and type of casualties and resources available. Triage is dynamic and ongoing, and not a discrete activity. The thoroughness of the patient assessment will vary based on scene safety, number of patients, personnel available to participate in the triage process, and other factors. Having scalable and flexible triage protocols allows providers to respond to any kind of incident.
Triage depends on a provider’s assessment and an interpretation of the patient’s prognosis based on that assessment (i.e., what care the patient needs and their estimated likelihood of survival), and what is required to deliver that care in terms of:
  1. Time – How much time is required to provide the interventions and how quickly does the intervention need to be initiated to be effective?
  2. Treater – How much healthcare provider expertise is required?
  3. Treatment – How many resources are required to achieve the desired outcome?

The Dutch emergency response plan which has handles the Turkish Air accident at Schipol Airport, Amsterdam lists out the following medico & equipment requirement.



After the Turkish Airlines Crash the first reports of the accident came into the Emergency Services Centre (ESC) one minute after  the crash at 10:27 a.m. Eighty two ambulances from different regions were dispatched, as were the medical officers and 3 Helicopter Emergency Medical Service teams. 

Response time at Calicut

The location of the air traffic control tower at Calicut is towards the approach end of where the ill-fated aircraft arrived and further away from the crash site. The height of the control tower is lower than usual since the runway is higher than the apron where the tower is constructed. It is highly unlikely that the air traffic controllers could have noticed the the aircraft had met with an accident that rainy night.


Night imagery from the position of the control tower

The airport rescue fire services are expected to reach the accident site within 3 minutes of receiving the alert. The rescue services probably reached between 12-15 minutes after being informed. Since the air traffic controllers did not have direct view of the location, they would have been informed by the security guards at the airport perimeter via their reporting chain. The time taken for the airport rescue fire services to reach the accident site could have been as much as 30 minutes from the time of the accident. This is owing to the probability that the fire tenders rushed to the far end of the runway where they expected the aircraft to be located. However, the aircraft had slid down and there was no direct access. The fire tenders would have to rush back to where they started and take the perimeter road to the accident site.
Probable route followed by airport rescue/Fire services



The local fire tenders were seen in media footage spraying water on the aircraft fuselage whereas foam is the recommended fire retardant agent for aircraft accidents. This is a proof that the local fire and rescue services were active and uncharge before the airport services and emergency response was activated.
The triage was in all probability not implemented and the co-pilot unfortunately was put in the back seat of the private car by people who were not aware of segregation of casualties based on the medical status of the individual. 


Images from Manorama News Video
Co-Pilot being brought to the Hospital



A precious life which could have been saved by providing timely medical intervention was lost due negligence.

Philadelphia Scoop and Run

Philadelphia in the USA has a high number of gunshot victims every year and a number of them are saved by police officers transporting the victims in the back seat of their cars. According to some trauma doctors, the lack of medical intervention that victims receive during the typical scoop and run is part of what makes the practice beneficial. Advanced procedures like breathing tubes and IV fluids, while helpful for certain kinds of patients, may actually do more harm than good for shooting and stabbing victims in urban areas. “I’d love to debunk the myth that you need a person on the scene who has all this advanced medical training and that is going to make the difference for this specific kind of injury,” says Dr. Elliott Haut, a Johns Hopkins trauma surgeon. For a presentation he gives at conferences, he shows a slide that asks what’s the best fluid to give victims of penetrating trauma. Then he clicks to the next slide, which reads “diesel fuel.” Haut says, “Yes, you’re going to get less medical care on the street and in the back of the car, but I’m OK with that because the shorter time is going to make a difference.”

This works when medical care is available within 4 minutes drive from the accident site and not an hour drive as was the case of the AirIndia Express Co-Pilots.

Comments

  1. it's really a good one, very interesting blog, keep on share like this. Thank you.

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