The Airbus A 310 aircraft was on its way to Riyadh from Kochi via Kozhikode. It took off from Nedumbasseri at 4.30am and landed at Kozhikode to pick up the rest of the passengers. The carrier left Kozhikode at 6.45am and after about 45 minutes the smoke alarm went off, an official spokesman said.
The captain told the passengers not to worry and that he was returning to Nedumbasseri. Both pilots were Indians. By about 9 am, the plane landed in Kochi and fire tenders were rushed to the aircraft. All emergency services had been kept on alert. There were a total of 197 passengers - 11 in J class, 180 in economy class and six infants - besides 10 crew members on board the plane. There were only about 40 passengers when the plane left Kochi. The rest of them joined from Kozhikode. They were shifted to hotels and the aircraft was tugged away for inspection.
Engineers scanned the body and found a malfunction in engine number 2 on the right side of the aircraft. Official sources said it will take at least a day to fix the error.
Passengers, who came out of the aircraft, said they had panicked after being alerted about the fire. The airconditioning in the plane had also gone off, they said. Experts however, said passengers might have felt so as the plane during an emergency landing, climbs down at a faster rate than it does under normal conditions. This creates a difference in cabin pressure which results in uneasiness for those inside.
Yet another passenger said he felt like the aircraft had begun a free fall and that there was no way to escape. Air India later announced that the passengers were put on board a flight summoned from Mumbai and sent to Riyadh.
Source: The Times of India