Panic gripped the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) on Thursday morning after 71 passengers from a Mangaluru-bound Jet Airways aircraft were disembarked following a thick cloud of smoke inside the cabin.
The incident was reported prior to departure and all passengers were safely evacuated by the aircraft crew and emergency response team at the KIA. They were later allowed to fly to Mangaluru in another aircraft.
Sources at the KIA revealed to DH that the passengers of Jet Airways flight 9W713, scheduled to depart for Mangaluru at 7 am, alerted the crew about smoke engulfing the cabin. “Passengers initially noticed smoke emanating from AC vents inside the cabin. As it engulfed the cabin, they alerted the crew and subsequently all were evacuated,” a source at KIA said.
Urban Development and Housing Minister U T Khader was one of the passengers. He was flying to Mangaluru to receive President Ram Nath Kovind who was visiting Udupi on Thursday.
“I also noticed smoke coming out of AC vents. Soon, there was a burnt smell inside the cabin. As the smoke thickened and it became increasingly suffocating, the crew helped us to disembark the plane,” Khader told mediapersons.
Another aircraft was arranged after one and a half hours, facilitating the passengers’ safe travel.
The Jet Airways officials, however, denied there was smoke inside the cabin. They attributed the delay to a technical snag in the aircraft prior to scheduled departure and regretted the inconvenience caused to passengers.