New Delhi: Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh on Monday lauded the courage and grit of two women pilots, who safely landed a Guwahati-bound Air India aircraft, which lost one of the nose wheels during take off from Silchar, and saved 52 lives.
Singh personally called up captain Urmila Yadav, co-pilot Yashoo Pereira and Guwahati Airport Director Manvinder Singh, and thanked them for ensuring the safe landing of the ATR flight from Silchar in Assam, an official statement said.
An Air India Silchar-Guwahati plane with 52 people on board landed under emergency conditions at the Lokopriyo Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati on Sunday after it lost one of its front wheels during take off.
The minister appreciated the “courage and grit” of Urmila and Yashoo with which they acted in the hour of crisis and ensured safety of all the 52 people, 48 passengers and four crew members, on board without letting panic take its grip, it said.
Singh’s personal call is not only an appreciation of an isolated incident but also a “strong message that the services of staff and employees of the company, be it small or big, would not go unnoticed and unrecognised” by the government, the statement said.
The ATR 9760 flight lost one of the nose wheels during take off from Silchar airport, 235 km from Guwahati on Monday.
The technical snag developed moments before the plane became airborne from Khumbirgram Airport in Silchar at 9 am.
After the plane gained altitude, its automated alarm cautioned passengers to be prepared for any eventuality.
Captain Urmila, however, flew the plane to Guwahati which has better landing facilities and the aircraft landed under emergency conditions at the Lokopriyo Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport.
Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi congratulated Captain Urmila and Yashu for the safe touchdown. He spoke to Urmila over phone and conveyed his thanks to her and the co-pilot for showing alacrity, courage and dexterity.
The plane hovered over Guwahati airport for some time to burn the fuel in the tank to reduce the chances of it catching fire during landing under emergency conditions.
Even as fear and anxiety gripped the 48 people onboard, the pilot Captain Urmila Yadav and co-pilot Yashu kept their cool and took a couple of crucial decisions that prevented any loss of life.
First, they flew the plane to Guwahati, which has better landing facilities, and the aircraft landed under emergency conditions at Lokopriyo Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) Airport.
Second, the team kept the plane hovering over the Guwahati skies for more than two hours to exhaust excess fuel and ensure that it did not burst into flames in the event of a crash-landing.
Civil aviation regulator DGCA has ordered a probe into the incident.
(With PTI inputs)
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