Aviation

Air India technician sucked into plane engine, killed

MUMBAI

India’s flag carrier Air India is investigating a freak accident in which one of its technicians got sucked into the running engine of an aircraft at the Mumbai airport on Wednesday. The aircraft has been isolated and its engine is being dismantled to recover the body.

The technician, Ravi Subramaniam, was pulled into the engine four minutes before the aircraft was to take off for Hyderabad at around 8.40 pm.

Air India sources say miscommunication between the co-pilot and the technician was the main cause of the horrifying accident. Sources also say the plane’s parking brake may not have been in position and it moved when it was not supposed to.

It is the technician’s job to remove a pin attached to the nose-landing gear when the plane reaches the taxiway. After removing the pin, which allows the gear to retract after take-off, the technician gives a signal to the pilot and the plane is cleared for taxiing.

The civil aviation ministry and the airline are inquiring into what happened. Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani said in a statement last night: “An Air India technician died in a mishap during pushback of flight AI 619, (the) incident is being investigated. We are deeply saddened and regret the tragic incident at Mumbai airport.”

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