TODAY -

Close shave for 51 on board AI flight
Source: The Sangai Express / Agencies

Guwahati, June 10 2012: An Air India flight carrying 51 people had a narrow escape this morning when one of the nose wheels of the plane fell off shortly after it took off from Silchar airport, reports NNN.

Altogether the aircraft was carrying 46 passengers, two pilots, two air-hostesses and an engineer.

The Air India flight however miraculously landed safely at Guwahati airport after one hour.

The ATR9760 aircraft took off from Silchar Airport at around 9 am, said officials of the Air Traffic Control.

The ground staff there noticed an object falling and found it to be a nose wheel.

ATC Guwahati was subsequently informed.

One of the officials at the office of Air Traffic Control in Guwahati said, "We asked pilot Urmila Yadav to fly at low pass (after the aircraft wheels are out for landing) so that the ground staff could have a look at the aircraft from close and detect the failure," he added.

"We then instructed her to circle above the airport for an hour to use up as much fuel as possible.

This is done in emergency situations to minimise the chances of an aircraft catching fire if it crash-lands" .

The ATC officer added that Yadav was instructed to land the nose wheel as late as she could in order to avoid any catastrophe.

"She did some tremendous piloting, handled the situation well and landed safely around 10:30am," he said.

But the passengers went through the most miserable hour in their lives before the ATR landed.

Two women fainted while the crisis situation made an asthmatic old man breathless.

Noted writer Sumanta Chaliha who was of the passengers said, "We became suspicious when the airhostesses started giving safety demonstration for the second time 45 minutes after take-off.

When I asked one of them if anything was wrong, she said they were expecting emergency landing.

We panicked when a cabin crew (engineer) began shifting some suitcases from the cockpit to the aircraft's rear" .

Officials of the Air Traffic Control said shifting the weight to the rear of as aircraft was the 'done thing' when problem arises with nose wheels.


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