AI Express flight brushes against wall at Tiruchi airport, all passengers safe

Leroy Wright
October 12, 2018

The incident happened around 1.30 am when a wheel of the Air India flight IX 611 hit the localiser, also called the safety wall, at the runway just before taking off. The pilot in command D Ganesh Babu has a flying experience of 3.600 hours on the B 737 aircraft, including 500 hours as a commander. All 176 passengers and 14 crew members on board Air India flight AI-101, operating on Delhi-New York route on October 10, are safe, the source said. However, airline officials said they do not have much information on which part of the aircraft had hit the antenna on ground or the damage to the aircraft.

After the incident, an internal inquiry has been set up.

The aircraft sustained major damage to its underbelly and undercarriage but the pilots, unaware of the damage, continued with the flight instead of returning to land in Trichy. Another flight has been arranged to take the passengers from Mumbai to Dubai, Air India said.

It was made a decision to divert the aircraft to Mumbai as a precautionary measure, said the spokesperson. "No one suffered any injuries", it added.

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The passengers were shifted to another aircraft at Mumbai to travel to Dubai.

Tamil Nadu Minister Vellamandi Natrajan visited the spot and inspected the damages to the wall, adjacent to a state highway. The First Officer was Capt. Anurag who has an experience of about 3,000 hours on the B 737.

Commenting on the incident, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said he had recently ordered putting in place a third-party professional organisation to look into various safety aspects at Air India.

Air India removed the pilots from duty pending the investigation.

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