Fuel leak caused AI plane blaze

Riyadh-bound Air India flight caught fire while taking off

Fuel leak caused AI plane blaze

Air India's Boeing 747 aircraft stands on the tarmac after one of its engines caught fire, at the airport in Mumbai. AP

No one was hurt in the incident as the blaze was put out immediately, spokespersons of Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) and Air India said. The passengers were evacuated through emergency exit chutes of the Boeing B 747-400 aircraft which was brought to a halt on a taxiway and the emergency drill activated.

The AI-829 flight was scheduled to fly to the Saudi Arabian capital and was preparing for take off around 10.50 am. As the aircraft was moving towards the runway, a passenger noticed sparks flying out of one of the engines and immediately alerted the crew.

The flight commander responded immediately to break the speed and brought the aircraft to a halt off the runway. An Air India press statement issued later in the day said an incident of fire in the Riyadh-bound AI flight took place at 10:50 am. “The fire was promptly extinguished. All passengers were immediately evacuated. They will be sent to Riyadh by an alternate aircraft later today.”

Accordingly, all the stranded passengers were sent by another aircraft to their destination, the airline spokesperson said. Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) ordered the de-rostering of the maintenance engineer who was working on the AI-829 flight after it developed a fuel leak.

The DGCA ordered a detailed probe into the fuel leak from the wings of the aircraft that caused one of the engines to catch fire. Ruling out the possibility of a technical snag leading to the grounding of the aircraft, aviation experts said the fuel leaked onto the heated engines of the aircraft, causing the fire. Had it not been detected, it could have led to a catastrophe in the air.

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