Official sources at the Surat airport on Monday said that there seems to be no CCTV footage of the incident that happened on November 6, where a SpiceJet aircraft hit a buffalo. Over 50 per cent of CCTV cameras installed at the airport are non-functional even as authorities continued to impound stray cattle roaming within the airport premises on Monday.
A five-member team from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), headed by Chief Executive Director (Western Region) A K Sharma, arrived in Surat on Monday to probe the incident where about 170 passengers of a SpiceJet aircraft had a lucky escape after the plane hit a buffalo while taking off from the runway.
The DGCA team, along with the airport officials, went around the airport spread across 312 hectares. The officials found several shrimp-farming ponds in the outer vicinity and cattle sheds in different places near the airport that had become functional in 2007. The DGCA officials also demanded CCTV footage of the entire episode, beginning from the landing of the aircraft, till it hit the buffalo. The airport officials, however, told them that their internal and external CCTV cameras were non-functional due to some major fault which was yet to be repaired, official sources said.
The team also demanded an explanation from Surat airport director S D Sharma about what steps he had taken till now about the presence of shrimp farming and cattle sheds near the airport. Meanwhile, while the DGCA probe was on, a cattle squad from the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) impounded four calves found grazing within the airport premises on Monday. The stray cattle were found when they were combing the airport.
The Zoo Superintendent of SMC (in-charge) , Dr. Praful Mehta said, “We have rescued three calves found grazing inside the airport. This is in addition to the three buffaloes caught till now. Nobody had come forward to claim ownership. Surat Municipal commissioner had declared a no cattle zone in nearby areas of the airport as a result of which we have started a drive. We have intimated the cattle shed owners to shift to other places and even warned them to impound their cattle if found roaming in the area.” Meanwhile, official sources said that the DGCA officials will prepare a report of their findings and will submit it to the higher authorities in coming days.