Four drone pilots suffered burn injuries and two pilots are still in a critical condition after an Idea Forge Drone exploded in Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh, an official statement said. The explosion took place around 8 pm on April 27 when a team of 4 pilots were trying to recharge the Idea Forge drone battery for the government Swamitva mapping scheme project, officials said.
“We have been in the industry for more than a decade and it’s the first time an incident of this nature has been reported to us and is really unfortunate,” the official statement said.
“The details of the incident are being ascertained at this stage. Our manufacturing facility is equipped with high-quality testing equipment and our UAVs undergo stringent quality checks before it is delivered to the customer. While we are always cautious and inform all our clients on how to take care of their UAVs. In light of this incident, we will be reiterating and issuing additional SOPs for our customers,” said an official statement from Idea Forge Technology Ltd.
Idea Forge is one of the leading drone manufacturers in India having supplied drones to the Indian defence forces & the Q6 drone recently received the type certification from the DGCA.
Superintendent of Police (SP) Raigarh has taken cognisance of the incident and told ANI, “We have sent our officers to investigate the matter and file its detailed report.”
On the complaint of drone explosion and injuries, the SP confirmed that the four pilots of the drone have been admitted to the local hospital, but refrained from saying how serious the injuries were as the matter is under the supervision of doctors.
The injured pilots belong to Navbharat Explosive Pvt Ltd. (Flying Tech Services) and company officials are in shock after the incident. “Our first priority is to provide better medical facilities to our employees. Have collected all the evidence for submission to the concerned authority,” the official said.
Drone explosion not only affects Idea Forge IPO plans but also impacts the safety drone industry in the long run, officials said.
Smit Shah, president of the Drone Federation of India (DFI), a drone industry body, reacted to the drone blast and said, “Problems with lithium batteries are becoming an issue across sectors like phones, electric vehicles and now drones.”
He said that it is becoming important for manufacturers to further enhance battery-related SOPs and educate customers and for customers to ensure that batteries are being handled as per SOPs specified by the manufacturer.
“We will recommend it to all drone manufacturers in India to ensure that the level of safety in the drone ecosystem keeps improving,” he said.
Meanwhile, a complaint has been lodged with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and an investigation has also started.