Two IndiGo flights carrying at least 100 fliers each veered 25 seconds away from crashing into each other midair owing to turbulent weather in Dhaka air space, just beyond India-Bangladesh border on Tuesday.
Passengers on board IndiGo flight 6E-813 from Mumbai to Guwahati were panic-stricken when the plane nosedived after the pilots discovered that the aircraft was on the flight path of IndiGo flight 6E-136 approaching from the opposite direction.
The Chennai-bound 6E-136 had taken off from Guwahati’s Lokapriya Gopinath Bardoloi International Airport.
“We were about to reach Guwahati when the aircraft suddenly went down and shook dangerously making a loud noise. It was a horrific experience,” a passenger said.
In Mumbai, an IndiGo spokesperson said that four passengers complained of giddiness and two cabin crew were provided first aid as the sudden evasive action to avoid a collision suddenly shook up the plane.
“IndiGo flight 6E-813 en-route to Guwahati from Mumbai experienced turbulence due to monsoon activity over the sub-continent on August 2. During such weather situations, there are two types of activities – first is ‘cumulo-nimbus’ activity and second is ‘clear air turbulence’ (CAT). While the former can be detected by the weather radar, as per which the flight crew typically takes deviations and fly to avoid any turbulence – the latter, is experienced occasionally which cannot be detected by the weather radar,” the airline said in a statement.
“Flight 6E-813 flight experienced CAT which could not be detected by the weather radar. This caused the aircraft 6E-813 to climb by about 250-300 feet. At the same instance another aircraft 6E-136 (Guwahati-Chennai) was crossing 6E-813. Following the prescribed protocol, the pilot immediately applied the resolution advisory (RA) triggered by TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system). TCAS is onboard equipment that advises pilots about the traffic in the proximity of the aircraft and also instructs pilots the avoidance action (RA) to maintain desired separation between the aircraft.”
The statement further said the passengers along with the cabin crew on board were physically shaken due to monsoon activity. In addition to applying the RA, the pilot had immediately alerted the air traffic control (ATC) about the situation on-board, and requested for a doctor and ambulance at the Guwahati airport, it said.
“The flight made a normal landing and immediately after landing, the four passengers along with the two cabin crew were administered with the necessary medical assistance. As per the doctor’s report, there were no major injuries reported,” the IndiGo statement said.
It added: “As an airline, we rely upon ATC’s traffic advisory and ensure to comply with their instructions. At IndiGo, safety of the passengers, crew and the aircraft are of top priority – and at no time it can be compromised.”