4 suf­fer nose bleed as AI flight ex­pe­ri­ences pres­sure snag

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION - Sau­rabh.Sinha @times­group.com

New Delhi: Four pas­sen­gers on board Air In­dia Ex­press’ Mus­cat-Cali­cut flight on Sun­day suf­fered nose bleed while some oth­ers bat­tled ear ache as the air­craft suf­fered a cabin pres­suri­sa­tion snag soon af­ter take-off. As soon as the Boe­ing 737 (VT-AXW) with over 180 pas­sen­gers faced this is­sue, the pi­lots stopped fur­ther climb and re­turned to Mus­cat within half an hour of take off. The air­line re­ported this to the Direc­torate Gen­eral of Civil Avi­a­tion (DGCA), which has launched a probe.

AI Ex­press Flight IX 350 took off from Mus­cat at 3.19am (lo­cal time) on Sun­day. Dur­ing climb at about 12,000 feet the Boe­ing 737’s cabin pres­suri­sa­tion sys­tem had a snag. Pas­sen­gers started ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dis­com­fort, with four hav­ing nose bleed and oth­ers com­plain­ing of ear pain. The pi­lots im­me­di­ately stopped climb­ing fur­ther and re­turned to land safely in Mus­cat. The air­craft had 182 pas­sen­gers, three in­fants and crew mem­bers on board.

AI Ex­press CEO K Shyam Sun­dar told TOI: “Air­craft re­turned (safely) to bay due to (cabin) pres­sur­iza­tion prob­lem. Four pas­sen­gers had nose bleed­ing. They were treated by the air­port doc­tor and de­clared fit to travel. Few other pas­sen­gers who had ex­pe­ri­enced dis­com­fort and ear pain soon be­came al­right af­ter the air­craft landed.”

“Re­place­ment crew and spares reached Mus­cat (on) Sun­day morn­ing and the air­craft, af­ter due rec­ti­fi­ca­tion and ver­i­fi­ca­tion, de­parted from Mus­cat to Cali­cut at 2.15pm (lo­cal time) with (all pas­sen­gers).”

An­other se­nior of­fi­cial said, “The crew which op­er­ated IX 350 would have had ex­ceeded its max­i­mum duty time so a re­place­ment crew had to be ar­ranged to fly the air­craft back to Cali­cut once it was rec­ti­fied.”

Sources say the cabin pres­suri­sa­tion is­sue may have been caused by tur­bu­lence. How­ever, the probe will re­veal the ex­act cause of why this hap­pened.

Last Septem­ber, pas­sen­gers on a Jet Air­ways’ Boe­ing 737 fly­ing from Mum­bai to Jaipur flight had also suf­fered nose bleed, ear pain and other dis­com­fort when the crew for­got to flip a switch that helps main­tain cabin air pres­sure af­ter take-off. The air­craft with 166 pas­sen­gers had re­turned to Mum­bai where some pas­sen­gers had to be ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal. DGCA of­fi­cials could not be reached for com­ment de­spite sev­eral at­tempts.

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