Air India flight turbulence leaves passengers injured, probe ordered
Mumbai, July 26 (IANS) India's aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has ordered a probe after several passengers and crew of an Air India New Delhi-Shanghai flight were injured in an air turbulence and the commander reportedly declined to heed pleas for an emergency landing at a nearby airport.
Top Air India officials, confirming the July 5 incident, said flight AI-348's commander, Capt. S.P. Suri, who is general manager (HQ), and co-pilot Rajesh Mulchandani will be summoned for the DGCA probe into the.
Despite repeated attempts, Capt.Puri and the injured crew member from Mumbai who is recuperating for a fracture, were not available for comments.
Though airline sources claimed that the aircraft - an Airbus A-330 had been grounded since the incident, the airline has officially denied it.
The turbulence hit the aircraft some 90 minutes after the flight took off from New Delhi for Shanghai around 11.45 a.m. July 5 with 55 passengers and at least six crew members on board.
As the heavy turbulence rocked the aircraft mid-air for nearly an hour, oxygen masks fell out, passengers were injured as some armrests broke and they were flung to the floor, overhead bins opened and luggage came crashing down, and toilets also sustained damage, the sources revealed.
Despite screams by the bleeding passengers and requests by crew members, Suri did not divert the flight to a nearby airport for an emergency landing or help, the sources said.
The injured included an airhostess from Mumbai, another crew member, and at least 15 other passengers, including a businessman from New Delhi.
Meanwhile, another official said that although there are no standard operating procedures or set rules governing such incidents, the flight commander is required to take a decision on an emergency landing depending on the gravity of the situation.
He explained it was fortunate that the flight crew and passengers escaped with only physical injuries, since such incidents can lead to cardiac arrests or hypertension with possible fatalities.
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