Thursday, May 06, 2021

Air ambulance makes belly landing at Mumbai airport after losing wheel

Mumbai: The Mumbai airport saw anxious moments on Thursday as an air ambulance had to make an emergency landing after one of its wheels fell off. Even as a full emergency was declared at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, the plane managed to land safely.

The wheel of the Beechcraft VT-JIL aircraft, belonging to Jetserve Aviation, fell off at Nagpur airport soon after take-off. The fallen wheel was noticed by a CISF staffer who raised the alarm and informed airport authorities and the Air Traffic Controller. The ATC raised a distress call and a decision was made to make an emergency landing at Mumbai airport.

Director General of Civil Aviation Arun Kumar told The Indian Express, “We were really worried. The pilot was told how to do a belly landing and was jittery. By God’s grace, everything went off well. The operation went on for three hours.’’ A belly landing or gear-up landing occurs when an aircraft lands without its landing gear fully extended and uses its underside, or belly, as its primary landing device.

The pilot of the aircraft, Keshari Singh, said he realised the wheel had fallen and had to burn a lot of fuel before he landed. “I did a belly landing. I don’t know whether there is damage to the runway. We will have to check. I am thankful that everyone is safe,’’ Singh said.

The patient has been moved to Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai.

A senior employee of Mumbai International Airport Limited said, “The ATC was very jittery when the pilot gave the distress call, but we made our preparations.’’

The flight had taken off from Bagdogra in Bengal, and stopped at Nagpur for refuelling on the way to Mumbai. Nagpur police commissioner Amitesh Kumar said, “The aircraft had come from Bagdora at 4.30 pm, waited in Nagpur only for refuelling at left at 5.15 pm.’’

Other flights operating in and out of Mumbai are on schedule.

A MIAL spokesperson said, “The flight carrying 02 crew member, 01 patient, 01 relative and 01 doctor was diverted to Mumbai and did a belly-landing at CSMIA at 21:09 hrs. The airports emergency response team including the fire and rescue responders, follow-me vehicles, Central Industrial Security Force, medical team amongst many others was activated instantly and on standby to provide immediate assistance to ensure the safe evacuation of the passengers. As a precautionary method, CSMIA also foamed RWY 27 in order to avoid the aircraft catching fire. All passengers were evacuated safely and flights operating in and out of CSMIA remain on schedule.”

06/05/2021 Yogesh Naik/Indian Express

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