New Delhi: The government has appointed a Court of Inquiry to probe the Mangalore air crash which killed 158 people. The Court will be headed by Air Marshall Retd. Bhushan Neel Kant Bhokhale.
The other members of the Court of Inquiry include Ron Nagar, SS Nath, Babu Peter, N Gurcharan Bhatura.
The Court has been asked to submit its report by August 31, 2010.
Earlier, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, while speaking to reporters had said that a Court of Inquiry was likely to be appointed by the government.
"We are going to notify the Court of Inquiry shortly," he told reporters in New Delhi.
Replying to questions, he said the data and material has been collected by various agencies, including Air India, DGCA and the US National Transportation Safety Board.
"The Black Box (Flight Data Recorder), the Cockpit Voice Recorder and the Digital Flight Data Acquisition Unit have all been recovered," Patel said.
"We will now proceed with the investigation by notifying the Court of Inquiry very soon," he said. Official sources said the legalities of constituting the Court, including whether it would be headed by a serving or former High Court judge, have been studied.
The Court would be assisted by two assessors having aviation background, they said, adding that one of them could be from engineering and the other from operations so that all aspects of the May 22 crash of Air India Express flight could be inquired into.
The Boeing 737-800 of the Air India Express had overshot the Bajpe Airport runway on May 22 and its 90 metre long spillover area, plunged into a ravine and burst into flames claiming 158 lives.
Almost all the material evidence collected from the crash site have been taken over by the Inspector of Accidents, appointed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation a day after the crash.
These would be handed over to the Court of Inquiry, once it takes over charge.
Several theories relating to the crash like the plane took an "incorrect" flight path or missed the touchdown point or a brake failure occurred, pilots' fatigue or a judgmental error by the pilots have been given out as prima facie reasons by technical experts, but all of them said the final report of the probe should be awaited.
(With PTI inputs)