As many as 67 passengers, including the chairman of Thoothukudi VOC Port Trust Natarajan, Radhapuram MLA Michael Rayappan and Nanguneri MLA Ernavoor Narayanan, had a narrow escape after smoke engulfed their flight, barely a few minutes after landing at the domestic airport here on Tuesday.
According to sources, the SpiceJet flight took off from Chennai at 7.30 am and landed on Thoothukudi at 8.25 am. Five minutes later, the ground staff noticed thick smoke emanating from the engine and raised an alarm.
Fire and Rescue Service personnel stationed at the airport pumped water on the engine to contain the smoke and sprayed foam as a precautionary measure to avert any possibility of fire. Later, all the passengers were alighted and safely escorted to the parking area.
Meanwhile, the return flight to Chennai scheduled at 8.55 am was cancelled. Some of the 68 passengers were taken to Madurai on a van while the fare of the others was refunded.
Speaking to Express, Assistant General Manager (Technical) and Airport in-charge C Prabahar said that the pilot had turned off the engine after landing, but an oil spill occurred at the same time leading to thick smoke.
Prabahar added that all precautionary measures were taken and the passengers were escorted away from the spot. Prabahar added that none of the passengers suffered any disturbance.
One of the passengers, on condition of anonymity, said that foam was sprayed onto the plane before they had alighted. He said that most of them thought that the flight was being cleaned. However, only after reaching home did he come to know that smoke had engulfed the engine.
Meanwhile, sources said that senior air safety officer Durairaj would visit the airport in the evening and conduct an enquiry. The flight would be stationed at the airport pending investigations.
It may be recalled that all the passengers on board a SpiceJet had a narrow escape after the tail of the flight brushed against the runway on July 28.