Rahul Gandhi's chartered plane came seconds close to crashing in Karnataka in April because of "delayed action by the flight crew", aviation regulator DGCA has reportedly assessed.
The DGCA or Directorate General of Civil Aviation has said in its inquiry report that the crew acted too late "due to lack of institutional awareness".
On April 26, the 10-seater plane taking the Congress president from Delhi to Hubbali in Karnataka suddenly plunged, listed dangerously to one side and shuddered violently despite clear weather. The Congress alleged "tampering" and called for an investigation.
Besides Rahul Gandhi, there were four other passengers, two pilots, one cabin crew and one engineer when the incident took place.
In its 30-page report, the two-member DGCA committee ruled out any prior snag in the Ligare Aviation-operated private Falcon 2000 jet.
"The crew initiated action only when the master cautions warning i.e after 15 seconds of autopilot disengage," the report said. Such a warning appears in the form of a red light and audio warning in the cockpit for the pilot to take action in a split second and avoid any disaster.
"Due to lack of institutional awareness, the crew actions to control of the aircraft manually were slightly delayed," the DGCA report said.
After the incident, Rahul Gandhi's close aide Kaushal Vidyarthi, who was also travelling with him, had filed a complaint with local police and wrote to the Karnataka Director General of Police. Civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu ordered a detailed probe into the incident.