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Millennium Post

AI plane returns after emergency landing in Pak

One hundred and twenty two passengers of an Air India flight had a terrible and fearful journey when their flight made an emergency landing in Pakistan early on Monday morning due to a technical snag. The plane was flying from Abu Dhabi to New Delhi.

The aircraft was scheduled to land at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi at 5 am.

Instead, it made an emergency landing in Nawabshah, a hilly region in Pakistan's Shaheed Benazir Abad district at around 4:15 am, India time, said Air India officials.

The passengers were taken to Delhi in relief flight arranged by Air India more than 12 hours after the original time of landing in Delhi. After the landing in Pakistan, the officials of Air India immediately contacted Pakistan airport authorities. A technical team of eight engineers was also sent to Pakistan to assess the aircraft and bring it back to Delhi as a ferry flight.

'Pak officials were all cooperative and put the efforts to control the situation along with the crew members of Air India staff. We sent another relief flight to Pakistan to took the passengers into it. They landed around 5 pm in Delhi, while their luggage was brought into the same AI-940 airbus, 15 minutes after their landing,' said Ashok Tomar, a special secretary with the Ministry of External Affairs at the T3 terminal of the Delhi airport.

'The commander had decided to make the unscheduled stop in Pakistan after suspecting hydraulic failure in the Airbus. All the three hydraulic systems were learnt to have failed on this aircraft. Luckily the plane landed safely and all the 122 passengers and six crew members are learnt to be unhurt,' added Tomar.

The fight was carrying mostly Indian passengers from Toronto and Abu Dhabi.


PASSENGERS SIT TIGHT FOR 7 HOURS

‘It was terrible,’ said 14-year-old Muskan, who was travelling unaccompanied in an Air India flight that made an emergency landing in Nawabshah in the southern Sindh province of Pakistan early Monday morning. Muskan was among the 122 stranded passengers of Air India [AI-940] who has spent more than seven hours in the flight without water and food.

They were helpless and were not even informed about what was happening outside the plane, complained most of the passengers when they landed in India, 12 hours after the expected arrival time. The flight was to land in Delhi at around 5 am, but finally landed at IGI airport in the evening.

A Class X student, Muskan, who was travelling alone from Toronto in Canada and boarded the Air India flight in Abu Dhabi, looked relieved when she could finally leave the flight. ‘There was nothing to fear, but it was terrible locked up in a plane for so many hours. We had a bumpy landing,’ said Muskan, who was received by her uncle Sanjeev at IGI.

Some of the passengers looked dead tired and wanted to rushed home. ‘Whole day we were in the flight. The crew members and the pilot were our only hope for us,’ said Ramesh Chandiwala to Millennium Post. Chandiwala, Delhi’s Anand Vihar-based businessman, who was in the flight with his wife Shashi, said, ‘I will never forget this painful journey. There was no arrangement of refreshment.’

Apparently, until 2 pm, the passengers were made to sit without being given food or water. ‘We were not allowed to move from our seats,’ said U Radhakrishnan, former IAS officer.

‘We got scared and few of them got panicked after the announcement. We left every thing to god and prepared ourselves for the worst. When the flight was shaking while landing we did not know what will happen, but finally we landed and we were safe,’ said 65-year-old Radhakrishnan.

Kulvinder Devol, who hails from Kapurthala in Punjab, said, ‘During first few hours, things were fine. We were scared, but confident that Indian government will not leave us there the whole day. But as hours passed, we were not even given water to drink and not a word of any kind of help was offered to us. But when finally the pilot announced that another Air Indian flight has been sent to take us home, we relaxed,’ said Devol.
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