Documentaries on Indian aviation accidents

If you are reading this, you would be aware of the long-running series “Air Crash Investigation” (also known as “Mayday”). Many episodes have made their way to Youtube. Indian aviation accidents have been given due coverage there. The 1996 mid-air collision is covered here: Its content does seem to accurately reflect the causes of the crash.  It is often said that the poor knowledge of English of the Kazakh crew was the main reason for the crash, though this episode points out that the general unprofessional attitude of the crew was of more significance.

Then there is the Air-India sabotage of 1985. This had wide ramifications outside India as the sabotage was committed by people of Indian origin living in Canada-and most of the victims were also of the same category. ACI has covered it here: This is again a typical ACI documentary which describes how the investigation proceeded but does not say much about the conspiracy. For that we have to go to a documentary by the well known Canadian director Stella Gunnarson.

This was released in 2008 and does contain a good deal of information about the conspiracy and the people behind it. It also features interviews with relatives of the victims. Sadly, many of the perpetrators were not punished though at least one died under mysterious circumstances.The film’s website is worth a look before you watch it: This documentary has been uploaded by several places on Youtube, such as this: It does tell you everything you need to know about the crash and events surrounding it. There are several books about this disaster which I will cover later. Other Indian disasters have not rated a book on their own, except one on another long-forgotten sabotage incident in 1955 which led to several fatalities.

There is also a short National Geographic documentary on air traffic control in India: Essentially this is a PR job to show how efficient Indian ATCs are, but it is worth watching-particularly as inadequacies in ATC regulations and facilities at Delhi were among the main contributory factors in the 1996 mid-air collision. If you study that accident in detail, you will wonder how there were not many more disasters in that area. Probably the Indian controllers were good at their job, but cockpit crews must have been pretty careful around Delhi. Have pity on the crew of the Saudia plane, as they did not do anything wrong.