UAE: Passengers recount scary moments when flames were detected mid-air on Abu Dhabi-Kozhikode flight

At 9pm on Friday, passengers still await an alternative flight, which was reportedly scheduled for 9 pm and has been delayed to 1.50am on Saturday

File photo
File photo

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Fri 3 Feb 2023, 9:42 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Feb 2023, 7:25 PM

Passengers recollect the dramatic moments during the mid-air scare after flames were detected in one of the engines of Abu Dhabi-Kozhikode Air India Express flight on Friday.

According to Air India Express, IX 348 bound for Kozhikode in Kerala had to return to Abu Dhabi International Airport in the wee hours following a “technical snag” in one of the engines.

“The technical snag was identified while taking off and the aircraft landed back safely, following all laid down procedures, in Abu Dhabi International Airport with the 184 passengers onboard,” the airline said in a statement.

“This event has been reported to the regulatory authorities as per protocol, and alternate arrangements are being made for the guests. We regret the inconvenience caused to our guests on board.”

According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, India’s civil aviation regulatory body, an engine flameout happened at 1,000 feet during the climb.

Meanwhile, by 9pm on Friday, passengers are still awaiting an alternative flight, which was reportedly scheduled for 9 pm and has got delayed to 1.50am on Saturday.

While a majority of the 184 passengers have been moved to hotels, some are reportedly stranded at the airport. Sharing their experiences, passengers, who wished not to be named, told Khaleej Times that it was scary, stressful and terrifying moments in the skies.

“The flight was scheduled for 1.50 am on Friday, but it was delayed by 15-20 minutes, and there was another five minutes halt on the runway. Some 15 minutes after the take-off, we could feel a strong vibration and then a loud sound came from the ABC seats, i.e., the left side of the airplane. A passenger told the crew about the situation. The pilot announced that there was some problem with the engine and we were returning to Abu Dhabi airport. We would have travelled for 30-40 minutes and returned by say 3 am,” BN, a passenger, said.

Another passenger, AA, recollected seeing huge flames and some passengers alerting the crew about it.

“I was just resting in my seat as it was a long day for me. And suddenly there was a thudding sound. I knew it was something strange and serious. I could see a ball of flames billowing black smoke. I think it was a brief one. In a few minutes the flight was returning to Abu Dhabi. It was a scary experience.”

BN added that around 15-20 passengers are left stranded at the airport, as they wait for the rescheduled 1.50 am flight.

“There are families with small children. While the majority have been shifted to hotels by morning hours, a few are in the airport. Like those on visit visas expiring in a day are being told to stay put in the airport. We have been offered burgers, water and salad three times a day. It will be more than 24 hours that we are on the road, inside the airport and up in the skies. By evening we got a message about the rescheduling from 9 pm on Friday to 1.50 am on Saturday. We are hoping that there won’t be any further delay and we will be able to fly out by 1.50am,” BN underlined.


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