Passengers onboard an Air India Express flight from Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu to Dubai escaped a major accident after the wheels of the plane hit the airport outer wall while taking off early on Friday, officials said.
The flight IX-611, with 130 passengers and six crew, took off at around 1.20 a.m. and was then diverted to Mumbai where it made a safe emergency landing around 5.40 a.m.
Captain D. Ganesh Babu was informed of the incident by the ground staff at Trichy. Captain Babu reported that the aircraft system were operating normally but diverted the flight to Mumbai as “a precautionary measure”, said an Air India official.
The Boeing B737-800 landed safely at Mumbai Airport.
All passengers were deboarded and an alternative flight was arranged to take them to Dubai with a fresh set of crew.
The pilots of the aircraft have been “derostered” pending investigation, Air India Express said in a statement.
“Flight IX-611 took off from Trichy for Dubai around 1.30 am Friday. It was reported by Trichy airport officials that they have observed that the aircraft might have come in contact with the airport perimeter wall.
“The matter was conveyed to the pilot in command. The pilot in command reported that the aircraft systems were operating normally,” it said.
It was decided to divert the aircraft to Mumbai as a precautionary measure, the airline said.
“The flight diverted to Mumbai and landed safely around 5.35 am in Mumbai, and taxied on its own power to the parking stand,” it said.
“The 130 passengers and six crew members on-board the aircraft were alighted safely. No one suffered any injuries,” according to the Air India Express statement.
It said a relief aircraft and a fresh crew was arranged to continue the flight from Mumbai to Dubai.
“The pilot in command, Captain D Ganesh Babu, has a flying experience on the B737 aircraft of 3,600 hours, including about 500 hours as commander.
“The First Officer, Captain Anurag, has an experience of about 3,000 hours on the B737. The two pilots have been derostered pending investigation,” it said.
The matter has been reported to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the airline is cooperating in the investigation, the statement said.
Officials said DGCA is probing the matter and the damage to the aircraft is being assessed.
Tamil Nadu Minister Vellamandi Natrajan visited the spot and inspected the damages to the wall, adjacent to a state highway.
(With agency inputs)