Coronavirus Outbreak: 'We only did our job,' say Air India crew that evacuated over 200 Indians from Rome

Updated: 24 March, 2020 07:36 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

A team of 22 people, including the Air Indian crew, doctors and nurses, on board AI123 (787-Dreamliner) took off for Rome on March 21 evening and landed at Delhi airport on Sunday morning along with the 263 Indians, mostly students.

Air India Crew
Air India Crew

We only did our job, and we are thankful to Air India for giving us this opportunity to serve the nation," said the crew members of the national carrier who are in home quarantine after evacuating 263 Indian nationals from Coronavirus-hit Rome, Italy.

A team of 22 people, including the Air Indian crew, doctors and nurses, on board AI123 (787-Dreamliner) took off for Rome on March 21 evening and landed at Delhi airport on Sunday morning along with the 263 Indians, mostly students. The crew members have been advised to remain in home quarantine for 14 days as a precautionary measure.

Speaking to mid-day from Delhi, a senior Air India official said, "As per the health officials' directives, all the crew members, pilots and passengers have been quarantined. Even the plane was taken to an isolated location for disinfecting procedures. We are proud of the crew and team of paramedics who have always made us proud, with their commitments towards their profession."

"We are following strict quarantine measures. I am locked inside my room, which needs to be done so that we don't spread Coronavirus (COVID-19) to our loved ones and those we come in contact with," a crew member told mid-day over phone from Delhi on condition of anonymity.

Another crew member in home quarantine said, "Since morning, I have got several messages on my social media account, wherein people and Air India staffers have applauded our work. Even people we do not know have extended their good wishes, but I feel a bit odd, because we have only done our job... We are proud to be with Air India."

Several serving and retired Air India employees have flooded the social media platforms with pictures of the crew, headed by Captain Raja Chouhan, Captain Swati Rawal, Captain Sandeep Brar and Captain Prateek Sharma, and the paramedic staff, applauding them for the recue operation.

"In this tough time, when the entire world is engulfed by the pandemic, it's Air India and its employees who keeps coming to the rescue of the Indians stranded in virus-hit countries and have been doing it for ages in so many national emergencies" reads a post by a fellow pilot of Air India.

The crew members, however, refused to speak in detail about their operation, stating that they cannot speak to the media without the approval of their superiors.
Air India Chairman and Managing Director Rajiv Bansal said he cannot comment on the rescue operation as he was busy.

263
No. of Indians evacuated from Rome

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First Published: 24 March, 2020 05:34 IST

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