AI plane hits air­port wall, flies with se­vere dam­age

Close shave for 136 on board, pi­lots face ac­tion

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Htpunjab - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­ ■

NEWDELHI: More than 130 pas­sen­gers and crew on board an Air In­dia flight to Dubai had a mirac­u­lous es­cape on Fri­day when the plane brushed against a 50-feet-high perime­ter wall dur­ing take­off from Trichy in Tamil Nadu and flew in a dam­aged con­di­tion for four hours, turn­ing around fi­nally to land in Mum­bai.

The un­der­side of the air­craft suf­fered se­vere dam­age when it hit the wall, af­ter one of its tyres first struck equip­ment used to guide a pilot to land a flight. An ex­pert aware of the ex­tent of the dam­age said a catas­tro­phe may have re­sulted had the plane flown on any longer. The en­tire du­ra­tion of the flight, in­clud­ing the de­tour to Mum­bai, was four hours.

The Boe­ing 737 had 130 pas­sen­gers and six crew mem­bers on board. Pas­sen­gers in­side the air­craft were jolted and pan­icked as the air­craft shook and tossed about, PTI re­ported from Trichy. The pas­sen­gers were qui­etened by as­sur­ances by crew that there was noth­ing to worry about, and the flight pro­ceeded, it said.

“Af­ter flight IX611 from Trichy to Dubai took off, it was re­ported by lo­cal air­port of­fi­cials that the air­craft might have come in con­tact with the perime­ter wall. The mat­ter was con­veyed to the pilot in com­mand, who re­ported that air­craft sys­tems were op­er­at­ing nor­mally,” said a spokesper­son for Air In­dia Ex­press, the flight’s op­er­a­tor, a sub­sidiary of na­tional car­rier Air In­dia. The air­craft was then di­verted to Mum­bai.

A Boe­ing 737 takes off at a speed of 250-290 kilo­me­ters per hour, de­pend­ing on its pas­sen­ger and fuel load, serv­ing as an in­di­ca­tion of the ve­loc­ity it was trav­el­ling at when it brushed against the perime­ter wall at Tiruchi­rap­palli In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

Ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion from flight track­ing web­site Fligh­tRadar24, the plane had reached its cruis­ing al­ti­tude of 36,000 feet and had com­pleted more than half the cross­ing of the Ara­bian Sea when it turned around to­wards Mum­bai.

The plane was fly­ing at roughly 826 kmph – the typ­i­cal cruis­ing speed for com­mer­cial air­lin­ers.

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