A Dubai-bound Air India plane carrying 136 people flew for 180 minutes with severe damage to its body after colliding with the airport perimeter wall on Friday (12).
The two pilots of the plane were unaware of the damage to the 737 aircraft following the collision with the wall.
The plane, Air India IX 611, was carrying 130 passengers and six crew members when the incident took place at Southern Indian Trichy airport soon after 01.30 AM IST on Friday. The plane was later diverted to Mumbai, where it landed safely at around 05.35 AM IST.
Air India said in a statement that the Boeing 737 aircraft took off from Trichy airport in the early morning when the airport staff observed that the plane might have touched the airport perimeter wall. When the staff conveyed their doubt to the pilot in command, he reported saying, “the aircraft systems were operating normally.” However, the pilots were asked to land in Mumbai airport as a precautionary measure.
When the plane was landed in Mumbai, the officials noticed that the plane’s body had tears, cracks and dents that were highly dangerous. Some broken parts of the plane’s antenna were discovered on the ground at the Trichy airport showing the seriousness of the incident.
Two of wheels of the plane collided the airport perimeter wall at a speed of 230 to 250 km per hour and as a result, the wall collapsed, the officials said.
The pilot in command of the plane was Captain D Ganesh Babu, with a flying experience on the B 737 aircraft of 3600 hours, including about 500 hours as commander. The first officer was Captain Anurag who has an experience of about 3000 hours on the B 737.
Following the extensive damage to the plane, another flight was arranged to take the passengers from Mumbai to Dubai.
The incident has been reported to country’s aviation regulator and Air India is co-operating with the investigations.
“Spoke to Secretary and other senior officials of @MoCA_GoI and directed them to conduct a High-Level Enquiry into the incident,” said India’s Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on his twitter handle speaking on the incident.
“Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) officers are at the site for preliminary inquiry and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau officers have also been deputed,” the minister added.
“Air India has constituted a Sub-Committee of the Board headed by an Independent Director of the Board for looking at all safety-related issues within the organisation including subsidiaries,” Prabhu tweeted.