A Delhi-bound Air India flight had to make an emergency landing at the Biju Patnaik Airport well past mid-night on Tuesday after the aircraft reportedly developed a technical snag. For the 50-odd passengers of the national carrier, the experience was nothing short of an ordeal as they were informed mid flight that the aircraft had to return to Bhubaneswar immediately. The flight made the emergency landing at about 12.30 am.
The AI flight was to take off for the national capital at 8.50 pm, after a delay of about 25 minutes since it had arrived late. However, since the captain had reported technical problems __ unusual vibration of the body __ the engineer had to examine the aircraft which took about two to two and a half hours, sources said.
The flight took off for Delhi at 11.51 pm and about half an hour later, the captain of the flight announced that it had to return to Bhubaneswar because of technical issues. It landed back at Biju Patnaik Airport at about 12.30 am.
“The flight had developed technical issues and had to be grounded. Engineers are working on the issues,” Director of Biju Patnaik Airport Sharad Kumar said.
The passengers, however, had a scary time. According to Piyush Rout, the announcement from the pilot about the emergency landing came when the flight was midair. “We were asked to take off our seat belts and food was to be served when the passengers were told that the flight will return,” he said. In fact, the flight crew reportedly told the passengers that during the onward journey from Delhi to Bhubaneswar, the flight had developed snags and the landing was done with just one engine in functional state.
“When we were midair, passengers seated to the left of the aisle heard a noise from the engine, but it was difficult to know if there was any problem,” Rout said, adding that passengers were made to wait till 2.30 am.
Station Manager of Air India, Bhubaneswar, P C Sahoo said the carrier had reported some snags after its arrival from Delhi which is why the departure from Bhubaneswar was delayed. After it took off, the pilot apparently found certain flying parameters were not up to mark and decided to return.