New Delhi/Mumbai, July 9 (IANS) The 122 Air India passengers and six crew members stuck in Pakistan after an emergency landing early Monday of their Abu Dhabi-Delhi flight are now expected to arrive on a rescue flight around 3 p.m., airline officials said.
Flight no AI-940, which was scheduled to depart Abu Dhabi at 0015 hours Monday after originating from Bahrain, had to make the landing at Nawabshah airport in Sindh province early Monday after the pilot experienced a hydraulic failure warning.
"All the 122 passengers and six crew members are safe. We expect them to arrive in New Delhi around 3 pm on a relief aircraft which we have sent from here (Delhi)," a senior Air India official told IANS.
India's Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai was also in touch with the High Commission in Islamabad. The external affairs ministry said it was also in constant touch with the Indian mission and the pilots.
According to the Air India official, the passengers were being well taken care of, with senior officials contacting an airport restaurant at Nawabshah for providing meals and other basic provisions to the passengers.
"Since Nawabshah airport is a non-scheduled civilian airport, passengers without a visa are not allowed to disembark. But we are providing meals and basic provisions through a local restaurant at Nawabshah," the official said.
According to the official, a team of Air India engineers and technicians was also sent to Nawabshah on the relief aircraft and it would stay back to investigate the possible causes for the hydraulic failure alert, repair the same and bring the aircraft back.
"The pilot suspected a hydraulic failure in the aircraft after a warning beeper. So the pilot requested permission for emergency landing. The engineers will determine the exact glitch repair the same. We expect the aircraft to return soon," the official said.
The flying time from Nawabshah to Delhi is approximately 90 minutes. The damaged A-319 Airbus aircraft can be routed to any destination in India after repair. A set of pilots have also been sent to Nawabshah for this purpose.
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