Notwithstanding HAL chairman Ashok Naik's ill-advised claim to the press yesterday that he has received no formal communication about the Dhruv crash in Ecuador, a three-member expert team from HAL will fly to Ecuador this weekend to join the Accident Investigation Board. HAL currently has a ten-member team in Ecuador that is already assisting with the investigation. Things are at a very delicate stage right now.
The local Spanish daily El Universo has run a story with a headline suggesting that the country's Dhruvs could be returned to India. It appears that in the face of a torrent of media reports questioning the transparency of the Dhruv purchase, Ecuador's air force chief General Rodrigo Bohorquez held a press conference where he stated that if any problems were discovered in the helicopters, then HAL would have to either replace the equipment or refund the nation. The newspapers are also picking up on the fact that the Turbomeca engines were manufactured in 2007, whereas the choppers were made in 2008.