‘Scared and cried loudly’: Air India Express flight passengers recall harrowing moments after engine fire in Bengaluru

The passengers complained about the ordeal they faced following evacuation due to an alleged delay in arranging another flight for them.


Published May 20, 2024 | 12:04 AM Updated May 20, 2024 | 12:05 AM

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Passengers onboard the Kochi-bound Air India Express flight that made an emergency landing at Bengaluru airport on Saturday night, 19 May recounted the panic situation when a fire was noticed in one of its engines.

The majority of them reached the Cochin International Airport on 19 May, in the afternoon on another flight arranged by the airline from Bengaluru.

Sharing their experiences after landing at the airport in Kochi, the passengers said they were panic-stricken after noticing the fire a few minutes after taking off from Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in Bengaluru.

Passengers narrate what happened

“Everyone got scared and cried loudly,” a woman, who is a senior citizen, told reporters at the airport.

She appreciated the responsibility displayed by the crew in evacuating them from the flight soon after the emergency landing at Kempegowda Airport.

“They were very responsible. They assisted us in exiting. They did everything possible in one minute to rescue us. We are grateful to them,” she said.

Another elderly woman said there was loud screaming inside the aircraft after noticing the fire and everyone rushed outside soon after landing. Recounting her experience, a woman passenger said the crew advised them to remain calm and then directed them to exit quickly.

A male passenger said the fire was noticed five minutes after takeoff. “Soon after, the emergency landing was done. All of us exited through the evacuation door,” he said.

Another person said there were four or five sparks before the fire in the engine.

Related: Air India Express flight from Bengaluru to Kochi makes emergency landing

Delay in arranging the second aircraft

The passengers, however, complained about the ordeal they faced at the airport following evacuation due to the alleged delay in arranging another aircraft for their trip to Kochi.

“We really had to fight for our hand baggage containing important things. Luckily, we all got our handbags, but I still have not received my check-in baggage. The airline promised that they would deliver it to my home address,” a woman passenger said.

In a statement, Air India Express said all the passengers and crew were evacuated and no one was injured.

According to sources, the fire was noticed minutes after takeoff. The crew members alerted the Air Traffic Controller and a full-scale emergency was declared.

“On 18 May, IX 1132 from Bengaluru to Kochi made an emergency landing at BLR Airport at 2312 hrs, due to a reported fire in one of the engines,” a spokesperson of the BIAL, which manages KIA, said in a statement.

The fire was promptly extinguished upon landing. All 179 passengers and six crew members have been successfully evacuated from the aircraft, the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) spokesperson said.

Soon after the emergency landing at Kempegowda International Airport, the fire was extinguished.

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