Friday, September 04, 2009

AI plane engine catches flames, narrow escape for 229 people

An engine of a Riyadh-bound Air India airplane with 229 people on board caught fire today while taxiing at the Mumbai airport, forcing it to abort take-off and mass departure of passengers through emergency exit chutes.

All the 213 passengers and 16 crew member of AI-829 flight were safe as the blaze was put out immediately, Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) officials said even as Air India derostered an aircraft conservation engineer, pending investigation.

As the Boeing B 747-400 plane was taxiing on the runway for takeoff at around 1050 hrs, a fire was detected in one of the two left side engines and the aircraft was brought to a halt. The emergency drill was activated, they said.
Fire tenders rushed to douse the fire that was visible from airport terminal, eyewitnesses said.

Black smoke billowed out from the plane's engine as the people were evacuate through emergency exit chutes and taken to safety. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has taken up investigation into the incident.

"We have initiated a probe," an official said. "An aircraft engineer responsible for supervising departure of the flight was derostered awaiting enquiry as per practice," an Air India spokesperson said.

When asked whether the fire was caused due to an oil leak, a DGCA official said, "It is too early to say anything." All the trapped passengers were later sent by another plane to Riyadh, the airline spokesperson said

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