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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Nightmare on Dreamliner: Pilot spots rodent on Delhi-London flight

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 26, 2014
First Published: 00:24 IST(26/8/2014) | Last Updated: 00:28 IST(26/8/2014)

Putting passenger safety at risk, an Air India (AI) Dreamliner flight from New Delhi to London was asked to continue its journey despite the pilot alerting his seniors that he had spotted a rat in the cockpit.

The incident took place on May 28 when AI flight 115 took off from Delhi. The commander sent a message to the control room that he had spotted a big rat in the cockpit.

“Rodent observed in cockpit just below rudder pedal. Size approx six inches (sic),” the message from the Captain read. Sources said the pilots were asked to continue the flight to London where the fumigation would be done.

“Dear Captain, necessary action will be taken on arrival,” was the message from the Delhi office to the Captain.

“If a rat is sighted on board a plane, the aircraft has to be fumigated. This is the procedure followed by airlines worldwide. In this particular case it flew well over 4-6 hours,” an official said.

Rats on board are considered a safety hazard for if they chew up the electric wires it can lead to disaster.

“In a case like this, the aircraft should land at the nearest airport as soon as possible. As this wasn’t done it just shows shocking disregard for safety by AI,” said an aviation expert who did not wish to be named. An AI official said no rat had been sighted on board.

Another rat was sighted by crew on AI flight 810 from Ranchi on Monday. The aircraft was withdrawn and taken out for fumigation.


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