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As many as 141 passengers were evacuated from an Air India Express plane at the Muscat airport on Wednesday after fire and smoke were noticed in one of the engines. Fourteen of the passengers suffered minor bruises during the emergency evacuation on the taxiway.
The Kochi-bound Air India Boeing 737 aircraft was taxiing towards the runway when its pilots were alerted about fumes in the right engine by the crew of another aircraft.
Slides were deployed and passengers were evacuated.
Air India Express said there was no fire warning indication in the cockpit.
“The matter is being investigated by the regulatory authorities and the airline’s flight safety department,” it said.
A relief flight was arranged to bring the passengers back.
The aircraft fire will be investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority of Oman (CAA) keeping the Indian civil aviation regulator in the loop.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), too, will carry out “regulatory investigation” to ascertain causes.
A source said mixing of lubricating oil with engine exhaust gases might have caused the fire.
According to International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO’s) norms, an event is classified as an accident if there is a fatal or serious injury to passengers or if the aircraft involved suffers damage or structural failure.
In its statement, the Omani CAA referred to the event as an accident and said it was following up the developments along with the authorities concerned.
Videos and images on social media showed smoke emanating from the plane parked at the Muscat airport.
In a statement, an Air India Express spokesperson said the plane was to depart Muscat at 11.20 am local time (which is 12.50 pm India time).
Air India Express said full support was extended by Muscat Airport authorities and the passengers were brought to the terminal building. There are no major injuries reported, except for minor bruises to some passengers while evacuating.
An official at the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) said that due to the incident, Air India Express flight IX475 from Kochi to Doha had been delayed.
According to the latest update provided by the CIAL official, the rescheduled IX442 flight from Muscat would arrive at Kochi at 2.30 am on September 15 and later leave for Doha as flight IX475 at 3.15 am.
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First Published: Wed, September 14 2022. 21:07 IST