Smoke pours from Air India flight as passengers rush to evacuate

Some onboard were criticised for grabbing their bags before leaving the smoking aircraft

Lucy Thackray
Friday 16 September 2022 11:18 BST
Much of the aircraft was obscured by the cloud of smoke
Much of the aircraft was obscured by the cloud of smoke (Twitter/@TahirImran)

Dramatic footage has emerged of smoke pouring from an Air India flight that aborted landing on Wednesday, with passengers seen dashing to evacuate.

The flight was due to take off from Muscat International Airport mid-morning on 14 September, bound for Kochi in India, when pilots were forced to abort on seeing smoke detected in one of the engines.

In video captured at the airport, a huge cloud of white smoke is seen shrouding the front half of the Boeing 737-800 as passengers exit via the aircraft’s inflatable slides.

There were 147 people onboard at the time, including four infants and six cabin crew, Air India confirmed, and all were able to leave the plane safely.

Several passengers can be seen carrying wheelie suitcased or backpacks on the tarmac after exiting, prompting some on social media to point out that this is against evacuation rules and interferes with passengers’ safety.

“Once again thoughtless passengers have endangered their and others’ lives by taking off their bulky carry-on bags while evacuating from an Air India Express Boeing 737,” wrote aviation website

“Why can’t passengers follow simple instructions and leave their cabin baggage behind before evacuating,” wrote Twitter user @Banditonyour6 after the video was posted on the platform.

“Aircraft manufacturers should add the functionality to lock overhead cabins in an emergency. Will be easy to implement,” suggested Satvik Khare.

An Air India Express spokesperson said: “Air India Express’ Muscat to Kochi flight IX 442, with 141 passengers on board, was preparing to depart from Muscat at 1120 hours (local time) today. While it was on the taxiway, another aircraft reported observing fumes from one of the engines. However, there was no fire warning indication in the cockpit.

“As a matter of abundant precaution, and following the prescribed SOPs, the crew stopped on the taxiway and activated the onboard engine fire extinguishers. Thereafter, the passengers were evacuated from the aircraft.

“The matter is being investigated by the regulatory authorities and also the airline’s flight safety department.”

Meanwhile, a representative for India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation said that some passengers had sustained bruises while evacuating the plane.

“We will be investigating the incident and will take appropriate action. There are no injuries, as has been reported by some local media. Some passengers suffered bruises during the evacuation. Nothing serious as confirmed by the station manager,” DGCA sources told India Today.

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