Mumbai: 185 passengers stranded at T2 as SA Airways grounds flight

Updated: Jan 25, 2015, 09:33 IST | Neha LM Tripathi |

The Johannesburg-bound South African Airways flight was grounded after the nose light of the aircraft was damaged from splinters of the pushback vehicle’s burst tyre

A Johannesburg-bound South African Airways flight, scheduled to depart in the wee hours on Thursday from Mumbai international airport, was grounded after a tyre of the pushback vehicle (used to bring the aircraft till the runway) burst. Splinters from the vehicle hit the nose light of the aircraft, damaging it.

On ground: The plane was expected to fly 185 passengers to Johannesburg on Thursday morning. Representation pic/gettyimages

The incident took place at 1.38 am, when flight SA-285, carrying 185 passengers and 13 crew members, was scheduled to take off. Passengers allege that they were not informed about the incident for a long time. “After they finally told us what happened, we hoped that the aircraft would be repaired and we would finally leave after some time, but no such thing happened,” said a passenger. It took almost five hours for passengers to complete the de-boarding formalities, after which they remained in the terminal till 9 am.

Tempers flared
During the de-boarding process, one of the passengers, Abdul Mohammad Ramajan Ali, allegedly slapped a staff member from a ground-handling agency, as he was annoyed with the delay. “The passenger was extremely frustrated as they had to wait for a long time at the airport, and he slapped a ground-handling staff,” claims an airport official, who was present at the spot.

The airlines shifted 130 passengers from the economy class to Palm Beach Hotel in Goregaon, and 20 passengers of business class to Oberoi Hotel, before making arrangements to accommodate them in alternate flights. The remaining passengers chose to return home and are expected to depart later.

An airport official told this paper, “Passengers were extremely frustrated with the delay. Even the hotel staff told us that they were annoyed and demanded alternate flights.”

One of the passengers, Sandip Dalvi, said, “We were made to wait at the terminal for a long time before they shifted us to the hotel. I am currently checking in, in an Emirates flight.”

The official spokesperson of South African Airways, said, “This morning (Thursday), South African Airways flight SA-285 from Mumbai to Johannesburg suffered a minor technical glitch, due to circumstances that were beyond the airline’s control. Needless to say, keeping passenger safety and convenience in mind, the passengers were either accommodated on alternate flights or provided hotel accommodation.”

SA passengers adjusted

Emirates EK 509 – adjusted 8 passengers, departed at 10.10 pm
Emirates EK 507 – adjusted 30 passengers, departed at 3.44 pm
Emirates EK 503 – adjusted 51 passengers, departed at 7.20 pm
Kenya Airlines KQ 203 – scheduled to depart at 3 am (Friday)

**All EK flights will fly passengers
till Dubai and the Kenya flight will fly passengers till Nairobi, after which they will be accommodated in connecting flights to Johannesburg.

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