Air Force yet to seek Chinese assistance in plane crash probe

By Vyshnavy Velrajh

Sri Lanka is prepared to seek Chinese assistance in the investigations over the PT-6 Air Force aircraft which crashed in Kantale yesterday.

Air Force Spokesman Group Captain Dushantha Wijesinghe told Colombo Gazette that a decision in this regard will be taken by the Committee appointed by Air Force Commander Air Marshall Sudharshana Pathirana to probe the crash.

Group Captain Dushantha Wijesinghe said the aircraft was purchased from China and was in operation over the last 15 years.

The PT-6 aircraft had been purchased from China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation, which is the Chinese state owned defense company authorized to sell military equipment to other countries.

As per Commercial Aviation practice, the manufacturer’s assistance is sought to probe crashes involving their aircraft.

Group Captain Wijesinghe however said there was no requirement to seek Chinese assistance at present as the Air Force was well versed with the operations of the PT-6 aircraft.

He said if the committee feels it is necessary to obtain expert advise or a technical report on the crash, then assistance will be sought from China.

Thereafter, an expert member from the manufacturer which is the China National Aero – Technology Import and Export Corporation will join the probe.

The Air Force Spokesman said if so, the request will be put forward to the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka and the China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation by the Committee probing the crash.

The PT-6 aircraft which was dispatched from the Air Force base in China Bay, Trincomalee on a solo training mission, crash landed in a field near the ‘Janaranjana’ tank in Suriyapura, Kantale.

The trainee pilot who was airlifted to the Trincomalee district hospital was pronounced dead upon admission to hospital.

The deceased officer, cadet Amarakoon had joined the Sri Lanka Air Force in January 2019. He had commenced his training at the Flying Training Wing of the Sri Lanka Air Force Academy in China Bay, Trincomalee in July of the same year. (Colombo Gazette)

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