Passengers on board an Indian Airlines flight to New Delhi suffered “a minor scare” after the pilot made an emergency landing, forced by a technical snag, minutes after taking off from the city airport on Monday evening.
According to Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials, the “landing gear” — more specifically, the nose wheels — of IC 201 “did not retract fully”, leaving pilot D. Tiwari with no option but to touch down immediately after take-off around 5 pm. Passengers on board included Trinamul Congress MPs Sudip Bandopadhyay and Krishna Bose, and Union minister for tribal affairs Juel Oraon.
Another craft, with all 122 passengers, left for New Delhi at 6.20 pm. Senior airport officials and Indian Airlines officers, who were alerted by the Air Traffic Control (ATC) about the emergency landing, swung into action. “The pilot deserves kudos for his prompt action,” said a senior AAI official, referring to the drama in mid-air.
At about 5.17 pm, just as the flight was airborne, pilot Tiwari noticed the landing-gear indicator blinking, signifying that the nose wheels had not retracted properly. The pilot alerted his co-pilot and a quick consultation followed about what happens next.
Within seconds, they alerted ATC Calcutta that the flight would land and announced to the passengers that they were returning to Calcutta airport due to a technical snag. At 5.35 pm, IC 201 touched down again.