Damaged Air India Plane Flew For 3 Hours, Clueless Pilot Asked To Divert
All passengers and crew members who were on board the Air India Express Trichy-Dubai flight are safe.
It turned out to be a "very, very close shave" for with 136 passengers and crew members. It was only when the plane landed in Mumbai early this morning that it was found that its fuselage or body was practically "shredded". The plane could even be a write-off.
The pilots have been grounded for an investigation.
A little after 1.30 am last night, the plane hurtled down the Trichy airport runway at a speed of 250-290 km per hour and nicked the boundary wall before it was up in the air.
The Air Traffic Control then contacted the pilots that the aircraft "might have come in contact" with the airport perimeter wall. "The pilot in command reported that the aircraft systems were operating normally," said Air India Express in a statement.
But it was decided that the plane, which had "climbed to cruising altitude" on its way to Dubai, would be diverted to Mumbai as precaution.
The plane landed in Mumbai around 5.35 am and taxied to the parking stand. All 130 passengers and six crew members were safe.
"They scraped the underbelly, had it been a bit lower, that would have been the end," a pilot -not from the flight - said.
Another flight was arranged to take the passengers from Mumbai to Dubai.
The pilot and the co-pilot have been taken off the roster, the airline said, detailing its pilots' flying record.
"The pilot in command was Captain D. Ganesh Babu, who has a flying experience on the B 737 aircraft of 3600 hours, including about 500 hours as commander. The First Officer was Captain Anurag who has an experience of about 3000 hours on the B 737," said its statement.
Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said he had ordered a private company to look into safety at Air India in a recent review. He said he had also ordered a regular "safety compliance report" of all airlines. "Growth can't be at the expense of safety," the minister tweeted.
Apr 26, 1993 - Nine survivors were listed in serious condition in an Aurangabad hospital. ... The flight covered popular tourist destinations in India, including ..
Crash of Indian jetliner kills at least 55
The Boeing 737 jetliner, operated by state-run Indian Airlines, was carrying 112 passengers and six crew when it left the airport at Aurangabad, a city popular among Western tourists because of the ancient paintings and temples at the nearby Ajanta and Ellora caves.
'The remaining seven Westerners are feared dead,' Sharma said.
Nine survivors were listed in serious condition in an Aurangabad hospital.
The Press Trust of India news agency quoted eyewitnesses as saying the Boeing 737 hit a parked truck while taking off, maintained its flight for a few miles and then lost altitude.
As it crashed, the aircraft ran into high-voltage electricity lines, which may have ignited the blaze that engulfed the plane's rear section, the Press Trust said. Indian Airlines said it was investigating the cause of the crash.
Most of the survivors were reported seated in the front section, which on impact separated from the rest of the aircraft and escaped being consumed by the blaze.
The jetliner was on the last segment of a hopping flight from New Delhi to Bombay that had three stops en route. The flight covered popular tourist destinations in India, including Jaipur and Udaipur cities, which are known for their palaces.
Aurangabad is 180 miles northwest of Bombay, India's commercial capital.
This was the second crash of an airliner in India this year.
Last January, an Uzbek-owned, Soviet-built jetliner packed to full capacity crash-landed in thick winter fog in New Delhi but all 163 people on board survived.
The crash Monday was the second incident involving an Indian Airlines plane in two days. Over the weekend a Boeing 737 on a flight to India's troubled Kashmir state was hijacked by a Muslim gunman.
The militant, pretending to be disabled, concealed two pistols and ammunition inside his wooden crutches and leg plaster while boarding the flight in the Indian capital. After holding the 140 people aboard hostage for more than 11 hours at the airport in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar, the hijacker was killed in a commando operation.
A total of 23 civilian planes have crashed in India since 1966. In the worst-ever disaster, 131 people were killed in October 1988 when a Boeing 737 crashed in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, north of Bombay.
In the latest crash, the jetliner split into three pieces and caught fire, airline officials and witnesses said.
'The plane had just taken off from Aurangabad when it came down outside the city,' said Matin Khan, another spokesman for the country's main domestic carrier.
The plane went down barely 4 miles from Aurangabad airport.
Khan said the survivors included four of the six crew members, including the pilot and co-pilot.
Apr 26, 1993 - The airplane operated on a flight from Aurangabad-Chikkalthana Airport ... Location: 3 km (1.9 mls) NE of Aurangabad Airport (IXU) ( India).
First flight: 1974-09-18 (18 years 8 months)
Destination airport: Bombay-Sahar International ...
Departure airport: Aurangabad-Chikkalthana ...
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
May 15, 1993 - This sheet is a vital clue as to why the Indian Airlines (IA) flight IC 491 crashed just outside Aurangabad's Chikalthana airport, killing 56 of the ...
Apr 26, 1993 - Nine survivors were listed in serious condition in an Aurangabad hospital. ... The flight covered popular tourist destinations in India, including ...
Apr 27, 1993 - The flight was carrying 118 passengers and crew members, an airline official here said, when it crashed about four miles from Aurangabad,
both happened due to overloading of aircraft
officers should be arrested