In a shocking incident an Air India technician was sucked into the engine while performing pre-flight activities. The incident which happened on Wednesday night at the Mumbai airport was caused by the co-pilot misreading the signals from the ground staff and switching on the engines even though there was staff standing right next to it. Due to this sudden start, the technician was sucked right into the engine.
In an email that’s reportedly being circulated, it is mentioned that Standard Operating Procedures such placing chocks, getting clearance from the technician by the pilot were not properly adhered to which led to this unfortunate event. The flight AI 619 which was headed to Hyderabad had to be cancelled as the body was stuck in the engine.
As per the Times of India:
“The incident took place around 8.30pm when the aircraft which was to operate the Mumbai-Hyderabad AI flight 619 was being pushed back from the parking bay before take off. An aircraft can only move forward and so needs external help to reverse from the parking bay. A tow van is used to push back the aircraft and the process is carried out with an engineer positioned in front of the aircraft nose, so as to be visible to the pilots. The flight was being piloted by a new co-pilot and a seasoned commander A G Sharma. Subramanian, the technician (service engineer), was supervising the push back. “No one knew what happened. All of a sudden we hear that we heard that the technician has been sucked into the engine,” said an airline source. A CISF official said “the body has been badly mutilated”. Many of the around 100 passengers who were on the flight are said to have been traumatized by the incident.”
Clearly this is a big failure on the part of the Air India as it has been unable to make sure strict adherence to Standard Operating Procedures. While it’s understandable that the airline maybe trying to cut corners given its precarious financial situation but no ways can any compromise on safety be justified. The airline and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have launched an investigation into the incident and it will be good to see some concrete actions being taken in this case and the guilty are punished. The airline has a spotty record with the Airbus models as most of them are really at the end of their life now with average ages of many of those birds almost touching 26 years. With such old aircraft creating taxing requirements on technicians to keep these birds flying and make sure that they leave on time, the airline has pushed things to its limits. Let’s just wait and see what the outcome of the investigation to know more details behind the incident.