A passenger, who arrived in Mumbai from Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, suffered bruises on his leg when an Air India coach ferrying him from the tarmac to the terminal brushed a pillar railing under a parking bay at Mumbai airport.
The impact of the collision dislocated the hydraulic door of the bus, which injured the passenger.
While an airport doctor attended to Sunil Paswan, 34, the driver of the airline coach went missing for a few hours. The incident took place at 10:21am when the airline bus carrying passengers from an Air India Express flight from Thiruvananthapuram was heading towards the international terminal.
While the airport operator confirmed that the driver, Hemant Meher, went absconding, Air India officials denied the charge.
“The driver of the airline was absconding for some time, but the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officers found him later,” said a Mumbai international airport spokesperson.
According to CISF senior commandant Jintender Singh Negi, the driver has been taken off duty pending an internal inquiry by the Air India management.
The CISF also confiscated his airfield-driving permit.
The airport operator issues such permits to airfield vehicles such as airline coaches, catering vans, follow-me jeeps and oil tankers. Holders to these licenses are supposed to drive within a permissible speed limit.
While the Air India spokesperson dismissed the incident as a minor airfield incident, the Sahar police registered a non-cognisable complaint against Meher and have recorded his statement.
“I have been attached to Air India for 25 years. But, I am mostly assigned to drive the tractors of the company. I was driving a passenger bus after a long time and so there was a mistake in judgment,” said Meher.