Two killed as trainer aircraft crashes in Odisha's Dhenkanal district

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Bhubaneswar: A pilot trainer and a woman trainee pilot were killed in Odisha’s Dhenkanal district on early Monday morning, when a Cessna FA-152 VT-ENF trainer aircraft crashed at Birasala airstrip shortly after it took off.

Anupama James, superintendent of police (SP), Dhenkanal, said the accident occurred at Birasala airstrip under the Kankadahada police station area soon after the Government Aviation Training Institute (GATI)-run aircraft took off around 6.30am.

“It seems the aircraft developed some snag after it took off. The trainer pilot, Sanjay Kumar Jha, and the trainee pilot, Anis Fathima, were killed in the accident. Kamakhyanagar sub-divisional hospital authorities declared them brought dead,” said James.

Jha is said to be from Bihar, while Fathima is from south India.

Birasala is among the 19 airstrips in Odisha, where aspiring commercial pilots undergo training. The total strength of the trainees at Birasala was 90, including 36 aspiring pilots, before Monday’s accident.

The Birasala facility was opened last year, attracting trainee pilots from across the country. The airstrip was reopened on June 1 amid the easing of nationwide lockdown restrictions, which were imposed on March 25 to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.

Cessna FA-152 VT-ENF, Cessna- 152 VT-EUW, Cessna-172 VT-AAY, and Cessna-172R VT-TED are used by GATI authorities for the training exercise.

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