Smoke discharged from a bread maker made a Male-bound Emirates flight carrying 319 people (including crew) from Dubai made an emergency stopover at Mumbai on Tuesday.
The crew as per the safety procedure switched off the power supply in the Boeing 777-300 aircraft’s pantry section and sought permission from the Mumbai air traffic control (ATC) to land on priority. The flight landed safely at 1:59pm. A Mumbai Airport International Limited (MIAL) spokesperson confirmed the incident.
“Full emergency was declared at 13:59 hours as the flight EK 652 Dubai to Male was diverted to Mumbai. The crew reported smoke on board,” said the spokesperson.
Full emergency is an alert level when fire tenders, ambulances and airfield safety vehicles are parked close to the tarmac for immediate help in case of injuries. Passengers and crew were unhurt.
The airline said that the flight was diverted to the city owing to a “technical fault”, but did not explain the nature of the glitch. “Emirates can confirm that on 26 July 2016, flight EK652 from Dubai to Male was diverted to Mumbai due to a technical fault. The aircraft landed and passengers safely disembarked. Emirates apologize for the inconvenience. The health and safety of our crew and passengers is of paramount importance,” read a statement issued by the Gulf carrier.
The safety scare left passengers stranded at the airport for about five hours. The flight left for its scheduled destination at 6:30 pm.
Usually, flights making an emergency landing citing fire evacuate passengers soon after touchdown, but in this case the fliers stayed put in the plane for at least an hour. Evacuation through inflated escape chutes was unnecessary because the smoke was ‘minor’, said an official from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). “The emergency landing was a preventive safety measure,” said the official.