BHUBANESWAR: Passengers of an Air India flight escaped a major disaster as the plane caught fire midair on way from Bhubaneswar to Mumbai on Friday. The flight safely made an emergency landing at Raipur airport with no harm to anybody on board.The twin engine airbus (AIC670) with 89 passengers took off from Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) at 5.07 pm. Some time after the flight was airborne, some passengers saw flames from their windows and alerted the crew.
One of the passengers, Biswajit Behera, told the mediapersons that they saw flames on the left side of the plane, following which the crew members advised the passengers not to panic. Though there was palpable tension with everyone praying for their safety, the pilot landed the plane safely at Swami Vivekananda Airport, Raipur at 5.57 pm, drawing appreciation from the relieved fliers.
Ollywood actor Debashish Patra, who was also on the plane, said they suddenly felt a jerk and the passengers sitting on the left side of the plane noticed fire in the engine.“The aircraft’s left engine got shut down due to technical problem.
The plane’s pilots contacted the Air Traffic Control (ATC) officials in Raipur and landed safely,” BPIA Director Suresh Chandra Hota said. Minister of State for Sports and Youth Services Tushar Kanti Behera was also aboard the flight. After landing at Raipur airport, the passengers were evacuated through the emergency exits fitted with escape slides. The aircraft was supposed to depart from BPIA at 2.55 pm but it had got delayed.
The flight operates between Mumbai and Bhubaneswar daily. While its scheduled arrival at BPIA from Mumbai is 2.25 pm, its return journey is scheduled at 2.55 pm. Meanwhile, Swami Vivekananda Airport Director Rakesh Ranjan Sahay said after the flight landed, a technical team examined its engine. “All the passengers were shifted to the terminal building. Our focus was to shift the plane from the runaway and restore air traffic at the airport, he added.