Air India flight returns after crew spots bat in cabin
Once everyone was out of the aircraft, it was fumigated and the bat died, after which the carcass was removed from the plane, the officials said.
A Delhi to Newark Air India flight was forced to return after a bat was spotted in the plane’s business class area 30 minutes after departure early on Thursday.
The Air India flight left Delhi’s IGI Airport at 2.20 am as scheduled, people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity. Around 30 minutes later, the cabin crew spotted the bat and the captain reported the incident to Air Traffic Control (ATC), the people said.
“AI-105 DEL-EWR returned back to base (Delhi) after departure due to this local standby emergency was declared. On arrival, it was learnt that a bat was seen inside the cabin by crew members. Wildlife staff were called to catch and remove the bat from cabin. The aircraft landed safely at around 3:55 am. Later flight was declared Aircraft on Grounded (AoG),” news agency ANI quoted Air India officials as saying.
The passengers were shifted to another plane and Air India flight AI-105 landed in Newark at 11:35 am local time.
Once everyone was out of the aircraft, the Boeing B777-300ER aircraft was fumigated and the bat died, following which its carcass was recovered from the eighth row of the business class, they said.
“Air India B777-300ER aircraft VT-ALM operating Flight AI - 105 (Delhi- Newark) was involved in air-turn-back due to bat reported in the cabin by cabin crew after departure. Fuel was jettisoned and the aircraft landed safely at Delhi,” a senior DGCA official told ANI.
The incident has been reported to the airline’s flight safety department for a detailed investigation, people familiar with the matter said, adding that the airline has asked its engineering team to submit a report. In its preliminary report, the airline’s engineering team has blamed third parties for the incident. “The probable reason/cause may be loading vehicles like those for catering because all the time rats/bats come from their vehicle only,” an Air India official told ANI.