Vol. 5 Num 1016 Tue. April 10, 2007  
Front Page

Trainee BAF pilot dies in plane crash

A Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) trainee pilot was killed when his aircraft crashed into a bamboo cluster at Abhoynagar upazila in Jessore yesterday.

Eyewitnesses said flight cadet Faisal Mahmud died on impact as the plane fell to the ground with loud bumps at around 1:30pm at Pathalia village, 35 kilometres off Jessore Air Force Academy.

The air force headquarters formed a three-member high-powered committee to probe the crash. The officials who have visited the scene suspect some kind of mechanical failure might have caused the accident.

With yesterday's, the number of flyers killed in training plane crashes to date stands at 45.

Ayub Ali, a farmer who was working in a paddy field near the scene, told journalists that he saw the plane hit the ground barely five feet away from a tin roofed house.

The turboprop, which was of type PT6, smashed into pieces while the body of its pilot was mutilated.

No one on the ground however was injured though it all happened very near to a house.

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) department said the aircraft that was on a regular training mission took off from Jessore airport at 12:02pm and crashed at 1:40pm.

A rescue chopper flew to the spot immediately after receiving the news. Besides, members of the army, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and police rushed to the scene.

Later, air force Chief Air Vice-Marshal Shah M Ziaur Rahman flew to Jessore from Dhaka and directed all concerned to take necessary measures.

Hailing from Kathalia upazila of Jhalakathi, Faisal was born on November 28, 1986. He joined the air force as a flight cadet on January 11, 2005. He was nearing completion of his training at the BAF Academy, the ISPR release said.

The then chief of the air staff Air Vice-Marshal Fakhrul Azam on August 19, 2003 informed the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence that a total of 43 pilots have been killed in training plane crashes.

Since then, two more have died.

Causes of almost half of the accidents could not be known due mainly to lack of adequate evidence.

"Ten percent of the crashes occurred due to fault of the pilots, 40 percent for mechanical glitches while the reasons behind the rest 50 percent have yet to be unearthed," Fakhrul was quoted as saying in a standing committee report placed in parliament in 2003.

Incumbent air chief Air Vice-Marshal Khademul Bashar was killed in an aircraft accident in 1977, he added.

In one of the deadliest crashes, Flight Lt Adnan and three civilians were killed and 10 others injured at Banskhali upazila of Chittagong on July 30, 2002.

UNB adds: President Iajuddin Ahmed and Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed expressed deep sorrow at the death of Faisal Mahmud yesterday.

In a condolence message, Iajuddin, also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, said the nation has lost a talented Air Force officer at his death.

Both the President and CA prayed for salvation of the departed soul and conveyed their heart-felt sympathies to his bereaved family members.

Faisal Mahmud