A Dubai-bound Air India flight hit a compound wall at Tiruchirappalli International Airport early on Friday and was diverted to Mumbai, reported ANI. None of the 136 passengers and crew on board suffered injuries, though the aircraft sustained damage to its belly area.
The flight, which took off from Tiruchirappalli at 1.20 am, arrived in Mumbai at 5.35 am, The Times of India reported. The pilots, were reportedly unaware of the damage and reported that all systems were functioning normally. However, they were asked to divert to Mumbai anyway as a precaution, NDTV reported. The aircraft was declared fit for operations after inspection at Mumbai. Officials told the daily that a bird-hit could be the cause of the accident.
“The pilot said nothing was wrong with the plane as the systems were functioning normally,” IANS quoted Tiruchirappalli airport Director K Gunasekaran as saying. “But we found some parts of the plane like an antenna on the ground,” he said, adding that the aircraft hit the airport’s instrumental landing systems.
Air India Express said it has ordered an internal investigation into the incident, and pilot D Ganesh Babu and co-pilot Anurag have been de-rostered till the inquiry is completed, ANI reported. It added that all passengers landed safely in Mumbai, and that another aircraft was arranged to take them to Dubai. It said it had informed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation about the incident.
Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said he had ordered a third-party professional organisation to look into the airline’s safety aspects during a recent review meeting. “DGCA officers are at [the] site for preliminary inquiry and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau officers have also been deputed,” he tweeted.
Tamil Nadu Tourism Minister Vellamandi N Natarajan visited Tiruchirappalli airport and inspected the accident spot.