|The IndiGo flight after landing at the airport in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI)
New Delhi, Aug. 20: One passenger had a suspected fracture and over two dozen suffered bruises after a fire scare on a Mumbai-Delhi IndiGo flight led to an emergency evacuation shortly after the Airbus A-320 had touched down this afternoon.
The airline later clarified there was “no fire” while sources in civil aviation regulator DGCA said “dense smoke” coming out of the plane’s “left-side lower portion” prompted an alert from the air traffic control and the subsequent panicky evacuation by slide-chutes.
“The aircraft was moved to the taxiway where all passengers were evacuated through emergency slide-chutes,” an airline spokesperson said.
A statement from IndiGo said: “All the passengers were evacuated by both the right hand and left hand side slide-chutes in approximately 75 seconds. We confirm that all (the) passengers and crew members are safe.”
The airline spokesperson said the plane, which had 148 passengers on board, including an infant, and six crew members, made a “normal landing at 15.35 hours”.
DGCA officials said the air traffic control at Indira Gandhi International airport noticed the thick smoke after the plane landed. “As the Airbus A-320… flight 6E-176 from Mumbai, carrying 148 passengers and six crew members, landed at IGI airport around 15.30 hours, the air traffic control observed dense smoke coming out of the left-side lower portion and alerted the pilots,” a DGCA official said.
The airline’s spokesperson said the captain “immediately ordered the crew to evacuate all the passengers” as soon as he got the information about the dense smoke observed from the ATC tower.
The spokesperson said some of the passengers “suffered minor injuries during the evacuation”. Sources at Indira Gandhi International airport said 28 passengers had suffered injuries, mostly minor bruises, but one appeared to have suffered a fracture.
“Some of the passengers who suffered minor injuries during evacuation were given medical attention and taken care of by our airport team as well as five members of our FAC (Family Assistance and Care) team members. They have all left for their homes already,” the airline said.
The airport sources also confirmed that all the passengers had left.
“Further investigations are under way. There was no fire and this was not an emergency or priority landing. Safety of all its passengers and crew is of utmost importance to IndiGo and there is absolutely no compromise on safety,” the airline added.
Today’s incident was the second involving the low-cost carrier in the past few months. On March 8, an IndiGo flight from Delhi with 182 people on board had caught fire after landing at Kathmandu airport but no one was hurt.
Officials said the regulator had already started an investigation and would find out if there was any negligence on the part of the airline or its crew.
They said preliminary reports said the smoke was caused by heavy friction in the left brake system of the aircraft’s landing gear. The investigation would continue over the next few days, the sources added.