Parents of killed trainee pilot waiting for justice

December 20, 2008

Thiruvananthapuram: It has been eight months since the parents of the trainee pilot Varsha Gopinath received the Aircraft Accident Investigation Report from the Philippines Government establishing that their daughter’s death in a mid-air crash in that country was caused by error and negligence on the part of the Air Traffic Controller (ATC).
But so far, the Indian Government has not taken a single step to facilitate compensation from Philippines authorities, Varsha’s father Gopinath Pillai said in a statement issued here on Friday.
Varsha, 18, hailing from Thiruvananthapuram, died in a mid-air collision at Plaridel Airport in Philippines on July 8, 2007. ‘’In April 2008, it was conclusively established that the accident occurred due to the ATC’s error and gross negligence. The Government of India is still a silent spectator on this matter,’’ he said.
The investigation report blames the student pilot of Fliteline Aviation’s aircraft in Philippines who hit Varsha’s aircraft, he said.
The Cessna-150 aircraft piloted by Flight Instructor Capt Patric Philipp Teruel in command with student pilot Varsha of WCC Aviation, Philippines, was hit by another Cessna-152 aircraft, piloted by a student of Fliteline Aviation, Philippines, during flying training and killed all the three.
‘’It was thus evident that the safety standards were also very poor at Plaridel Airport at the time of the accident. As the Philippines Government is primarily responsible for the mid-air collision due to the gross negligence of the ATC, it is liable to pay adequate compensation,’’ he said.
Pillai said that repeated requests to the Government of Philippines, Fliteline Aviation, WCC Aviation, and the Indian Ambassador to the Philippines, have not yielded any result regarding compensation or insurance.
20/12/08 ExpressBuzz

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