New Delhi, Jul 24: A Major tragedy was averted at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Thursday, July 24 after an Air Mauritius flight caught fire, reportedly after being hit by a bird. All 241 passengers on board and 11 crew members were safely evacuated.
The Air Mauritius flight, headed for Mauritius, had a narrow escape on Thursday noon when a suspected bird-hit at IGI airport at the time of takeoff led the pilot to apply emergency brakes. This sparked a fire in the underbelly, which was quickly controlled. The passengers escaped by sliding down through three chutes amid emergency procedures.The sudden brakes overheated the plane, which led to a fire in the belly of the aircraft in the left carriage.
As per the sources, Flight MK 745, an Airbus 330-200, was to take off from the secondary runway at 1.30pm but was delayed due to bird activity. It finally began taxiing around 2.08 pm. Sources said the engine of the aircraft was damaged by the bird-hit; possibly two birds were sucked in by the engine.
The fire was detected when smoke started coming out of the aircraft. The pilot immediately informed the apron control. The airport"s fire and rescue team doused the flames within 15 minutes.
The passengers were disembarked through the chute of the plane. “All passengers and crew members are safe. The cause of the incident is being investigated but a bird hit, as reported by the pilot, cannot be ruled out," said an official statement from Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL).