A chartered flight from Vietnam to Kazakhstan made an emergency landing at the Calcutta airport on Monday morning after one of its two engines stalled mid-air above the Bay of Bengal.
The Falcon aircraft, with 22 people on board — 12 Kazakh tourists and 10 crew members — landed safely at 10.14am, said airport officials.
The double-engine aircraft that belongs to a Kazakh company, Invest Avia, was scheduled to stop at Lucknow airport to refuel. It had last refuelled at Bangkok, said sources.
“The pilot, Abakov Salavat, made a distress call to the Calcutta airport’s air traffic control, seeking permission for an emergency landing because one engine had stalled,” said a senior airport official.
Officials said the pilot’s first call came at 9.10am, when the aircraft was around 450km south-east of Calcutta and flying 30,000ft above the sea level.
Sources said the ATC personnel who received the “May Day” call from pilot Salavat immediately alerted the airport authorities, who kept fire-tenders, ambulances and doctors ready for emergency.
A Calcutta-Dubai flight, which was scheduled to take off around 10am, was delayed by 30 minutes to keep the runway vacant for the chartered flight. A couple of inbound flights were also kept waiting as the Falcon approached.
The plane landed without any hassle. Its passengers and crew did not have Indian visa. “But they were issued a special permission and allowed to enter the lounge of the airport’s international terminal,” said an airport official.
The on-board engineer tried to repair the faulty engine but was unsuccessful, an official said. An engineer will fly from Bangkok to Calcutta on Wednesday for repairs.
In the afternoon, all 12 passengers were sent to Delhi by a Jet Airways flight, from where they will fly to Lucknow, said officials. The crew members have been put up at a city hotel.
Samir Bhadra, 30, from Patuli was found hanging from the ceiling of a hotel in New Digha on Monday evening. He had arrived in Digha on Sunday, alone. In another hotel, Aparna Samanta, 29, from Hooghly’s Khankul was found hanging around the same time. Aparna had checked into the hotel with her husband, Sanat. She apparently hanged herself while he stepped out, said cops. Sanat has been interrogated.