It was a "scary" experience for 122 passengers on board an Air India plane from Abu Dhabi when it landed at a Pakistani airport early this morning following a "false alarm" about hydraulic failure, and relief was writ large on their faces as they returned home this evening.
15-year-old Muskan Sharma, who was travelling alone from Toronto to Delhi via Abu Dhabi, said, "I was scared as to what may happen when we were told that our aircraft has developed some problem."
Sharma had a confirmed ticket from Toronto to Delhi on a direct Air India flight, which was cancelled, after which she was accommodated in this flight.
Narrating his experience, V Radhakrishnan (65) said they were told "not to move around, to fasten the seat belt and be prepared for anything" as the plane was making a landing in emergency conditions.
"Fortunately, nothing happened," he said. Stranded for around 12 hours at Nawabshah airport in Pakistan's southern province of Sindh, the passengers and crew faced a hard time as they almost ran out of water and food.
Twelve hours after the scheduled arrival at 5 am, all the 122 passengers and six members of the crew landed at the IGI airport on a special flight which was send to Nawabshah airport from New Delhi.
An Air India Airbus A320 was sent to pick up the stranded passengers and it took off from Nawabshah airport shortly after 3 pm Pakistan time. "It was a long wait as Nawabshah airport is very small.
There are literally no facilities. Though the flight landed safely, people were in panic and when there was a delay in arrival of our rescue aircraft, people got angry," Radhakrishnan said.
The plane made the emergency landing when pilots detected warning lights on the cockpit panel indicating hydraulic failure. However, Air India officials said it turned out to be a "false alarm" after its engineers flown there found nothing wrong with the hydraulic system. The problem was with the emergency indicator lights in the cockpit panel.