So eager to reach home, he was willing to push a plane | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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So eager to reach home, he was willing to push a plane

A couple of days ago, a YouTube video drew the world’s attention to a remote area beyond the Arctic Circle, where, incredibly, a group of passengers were seen pushing a plane on a snow-covered tarmac.

mumbai Updated: Nov 28, 2014 00:28 IST
Soubhik Mitra

A couple of days ago, a YouTube video drew the world’s attention to a remote area beyond the Arctic Circle, where, incredibly, a group of passengers were seen pushing a plane on a snow-covered tarmac.

One of those passengers was Mcwin D’Souza, a Vasai resident. It seemed likely that he would have to spend yet another weekend in the bone-chilling cold of Vakor, a remote oil and gas field in Siberia where he works. But a split-second decision taken by his fellow passengers ensured that he was back home in the much warmer climes of Mumbai on Thursday morning.

The 35-year-old was among the 74-odd passengers who stepped out of a Katekavia Airlines’ charter jet into the -52 degrees Celsius cold at the Igarka airfield on Wednesday to pull it out of the snow-laden parking bay.

“It was a decision taken on the spur of the moment as all of us were craving to get home,” said the oil rig worker, who was at the drilling site for six weeks.

The braking system and chassis of the 76-seater Tupulev-Tu 134 aircraft assigned to operate the flight from Igarka to Krasnoyarsk had frozen in the extreme weather. The tow-tractor normally used to pull planes out of parking bays was unable to move the aircraft.

D’Souza was scheduled to fly out of Igarka to Moscow, via Krasnoyarsk, on Tuesday and then take a flight from Moscow to Mumbai, where he lives with parents, wife and two children.

But the first leg of his journey was cancelled as excess snow grounded operations in the town that is located 163 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle and around 2,800 kilometres to the northeast of Moscow.

On Wednesday, the same flight was delayed for more than an hour as airport officials were unable to prepare the aircraft for taxiing. “We waited on board the plane for close to an hour but all attempts to move it were futile. We were then made to deplane and sent back in an airline coach while the airline crew tried newer methods to make the aircraft flight-ready,” said D’Souza.

Restless, a few passengers including the Vasai resident asked the crew if it was physically possible to move the plane. “Nobody had experienced such a situation until then. But it was possible because the empty plane was lighter,” said D’Souza, who has been working in Siberia for the last two years.

The frozen jet rolled out of the bay with ease as soon as the fliers split themselves into two groups and pushed it backwards against the wings.

The towing vehicle did the rest and the plane soon took off safely.