IndiGo baggage handler dozes off in plane’s cargo area, reaches Abu Dhabi

Aviation regulator DGCA said the IndiGo baggage handler was medically examined by authorities at Abu Dhabi and sent back as a passenger to Mumbai on the return flight.
An IndiGo baggage handler tasked to load luggage for the Mumbai-Abu Dhabi flight gave himself a break and intended to take a quick nap before the plane takes off. He, however, woke up only when the plane was taking off. (Reuters)
An IndiGo baggage handler tasked to load luggage for the Mumbai-Abu Dhabi flight gave himself a break and intended to take a quick nap before the plane takes off. He, however, woke up only when the plane was taking off. (Reuters)
Updated on Dec 14, 2021 05:04 PM IST
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ByNeha LM Tripathi

NEW DELHI: A baggage handler for budget airline IndiGo was trapped in the cargo hold of the Airbus A320 aircraft and ended up flying to Abu Dhabi on an early morning flight after he decided to take a nap behind a few pieces of luggage and woke up only as the plane took off from the Mumbai airport, people aware of the matter said.

The incident took place on Airbus A320 aircraft that operated as 6E 1835 (Mumbai to Abu Dhabi) and took off around 2.59am on Sunday.

“We are aware of the incident and the requisite authorities have been informed. The matter is under investigation,” an IndiGo spokesperson said.

The baggage handler, also known as a loader, has been de-rostered by aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

“The cargo door was closed after the hold staff had marked the head count,” said Arun Kumar, director general, DGCA.

The airline learnt of his presence in the aircraft only after the plane landed in Abu Dhabi about two hours later and and the cargo hold was opened.

“A medical examination of this loader was conducted by Abu Dhabi authorities and examination revealed that he was physically stable. After getting the requisite clearances from local authorities at Abu Dhabi, he was sent back as a passenger to Mumbai on the return flight,” said Kumar.

Mohan Ranganathan, aviation expert said the incident raises questions on not only the flight incharge of the airline, but also raises safety concerns. “If the airline would have taken head count of their employees before the aircraft’s doors closed, then they would have learnt about this absence,” he said.

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Sunday, June 26, 2022