Air India's Director of Operations, Captain Amitabh Singh, who led the team that evacuated Indians from China's Wuhan city in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak there, has said that it was a "challenging operation".
Speaking to ANI on Thursday, Singh said, "Air India is the second line of defense whether it is a conflict, natural disaster or a disease like this. It has always served the country. It was a challenging operation. We have a team and every department knows its role."
"I was the executive commander of the flight. It was the first time we got involved in going to the so-called epicentre of the epidemic. There was no other airplane there. All roads and buildings were empty. It was as if we came to another planet," he said.
A total of 64 people were involved in the evacuation operations. These included 30 cabin crew, 8 pilots, 10 commercial staff of Air India and one senior officer from AI CMD Secretariat.
The team was led by Air India's Director of Operations, Captain Amitabh Singh.
"The passengers were tired and scared. Orders were to fly in, evacuate and fly out, keeping everyone safe. So we had some very good doctors," Singh added.
The two special flights returned to New Delhi carrying 647 Indians and 7 Maldivians on February 1 and 2 from Wuhan - a Chinese city of more than 11 million people which has been the epicentre of the new streak of deadly coronavirus, named COVID-19 by the WHO.
Those evacuated from Wuhan were sent to quarantine facilities in Manesar and Chhawla managed by the Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) respectively.
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