Tiruchirappalli: Passengers of a Dubai-bound Air India Express flight had a miraculous escape when their aircraft’s wheels hit a perimeter wall during take off here in the early hours of Friday, officials said.
The plane, with 136 passengers and crew members on-board, continued for Dubai and was eventually diverted to Mumbai after Trichy airport officials reported to the pilots that the aircraft might have come in contact with a wall.
Nobody was hurt in the incident and the aircraft landed in Mumbai at 5:35 am after being in flight for four hours, officials said.
The pilots of the aircraft have been “derostered” pending investigation, Air India Express said in a statement.
“Flight IX-611 took off from Trichy for Dubai around 1.30 am Friday. It was reported by Trichy airport officials that they have observed that the aircraft might have come in contact with the airport perimeter wall.
“The matter was conveyed to the pilot in command. The pilot in command reported that the aircraft systems were operating normally,” it said.
Officials said the plane’s wheels had hit the wall.
It was decided to divert the aircraft to Mumbai as a precautionary measure, the airline said.
“The flight diverted to Mumbai, landed safely around 5.35 am in Mumbai, and taxied on its own power to the parking stand,” it said.
“The 130 passengers and six crew members on-board the aircraft were alighted safely. No one suffered any injuries,” according to the Air India Express statement.
It said a relief aircraft and a fresh crew was arranged to continue the flight from Mumbai to Dubai.
“The pilot in command, Captain D Ganesh Babu, has a flying experience on the B737 aircraft of 3,600 hours, including about 500 hours as commander.
“The First Officer, Captain Anurag, has an experience of about 3,000 hours on the B737. The two pilots have been derostered pending investigation,” it said.
The matter has been reported to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the airline is cooperating in the investigation, the statement said.
On Twitter, Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said, “Air India has constituted a Sub-Committee of the Board headed by an Independent Director of the Board for looking at all safety related issues within the organisation including subsidiaries.”
Officials said DGCA is probing the matter and the damage to the aircraft’s belly, including the wheels, is being assessed.
“DGCA officers are at site for preliminary inquiry and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau officers have also been deputed,” the minister tweeted.
Tamil Nadu Minister Vellamandi Natrajan visited the spot and inspected the damages to the wall, adjacent to a state highway.