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When 60 people were killed in air crash near Patna airport: What happened in July 2000

Details said Alliance Air Flight 7412 was carrying 52 passengers and 6 crew members. A total of 6 passengers had boarded the flight to Lucknow, while the other 46 were heading to Patna.

Vani Mehrotra Edited by: Vani Mehrotra @vani_mehrotra New Delhi Published on: June 19, 2022 13:46 IST
Alliance Air Flight 7412 plane crash
Image Source : PTI

Alliance Air Flight 7412 plane crash

Back in 2000, as many as 60 people were killed after an Alliance Air Flight 7412 nose-dived and crashed into a residential area near Patna airport. The plane crash was one of the worst air accidents in the history of India, resulting from a 'pilot error'. 

Alliance Air Flight 7412 was a scheduled Indian domestic passenger flight from Calcutta to Delhi. On July 17, 2000, while on an approach to its first stopover in Patna, the Boeing 737-2A8 nose-dived and crashed into a residential area in Patna. Those killed in the plane crash also included 5 on the ground. 

Details said Alliance Air Flight 7412 was carrying 52 passengers and 6 crew members. A total of 6 passengers had boarded the flight to Lucknow, while the other 46 were heading to Patna.

Alliance Air Flight 7412 crash: What happened on July 17, 2000?

After taking off from the Kolkata airport at 6:51 am, Alliance Air Flight 7412 was to head for Delhi. In between, the flight was to halt at Patna and Lucknow. 

At 7:17 am, the Patna ATC cleared the flight for descent to level 75 (approximately 7,500 feet) and eventually to 4,000 feet (1,200 m). Flight crew members were asked to report for an approach to runway 25.

At 7:28 am, the flight crew members reported commencing the turn to Patna. Three minutes later, the flight reported crossing the airport area and coming up on the localiser. 

The aircraft was then asked to descend to 1,700 feet (520 m). 

Patna ATC later cleared the aircraft to land at Runway 25. The flight crew, however, noticed that their altitude was much higher than the usual altitude for an approach and requested the ATC for a 360-degree orbit. The ATC granted their request and asked the crew to report back on the approach, which the crew acknowledged. This was the last transmission from the crew.

Following the aircraft's clearance for a circle, the flight crew attempted a turn to the left, during which it was flying above Patna's Secretariat Tower. 

During the left turn, the flight's stick shaker activated, warning the crew of the impending stall condition. 

The aircraft continued to bank, losing its altitude and eventually grazed trees and a single-storied house in a government residential housing estate, crashing in a government residential colony behind Gardani Bagh Girls School at 7:34 am.

Plumes of smoke immediately appeared from the area where the aircraft was last seen. 

Patna ATC immediately activated the crash alarm and reported the crash of Flight 7412 to fire services. 

Authorities arrived at the crash site approximately 15 to 20 minutes after the accident. The accident sparked fire in the area due to the aircraft's fuel. The search and rescue operation was hampered by the narrow roads and large volumes of people. 

Two houses were destroyed while another house had suffered damage on the roof. 

A total of seven people were rescued from the site of the crash, four of whom later succumbed due to their injuries. 

Some, who survived the plane crash were seated at the aft fuselage. 

Alliance Air Flight 7412 crash: What caused the air accident?

According to the final report by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the cause of the crash was due to pilot error. The aircraft was on approach with its engines at idle thrust and the crew made several maneuvers with a high-pitch attitude. When the aircraft sounded a warning of an impending stall, the crew elected to execute a go-around procedure instead of a stall recovery procedure, causing the aircraft to enter an actual stall condition.

The pilot flying the aircraft was later identified as 31-year-old Captain Arvind Singh Bagga. He had a total flying experience of 4,085 hours, of which 3,605 hours were on the Boeing 737. The co-pilot was 35-year-old Captain Manjit Singh Sohanpal. He had a total flying experience of 4,361 hours, of which 1,778 hours were on the Boeing 737. 

Both flight crews were described as experienced pilots.

Also Read | Patna SpiceJet flight: Plane's engine catches fire mid-air, makes emergency landing

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