Air India flies stranded passengers from Russia to US

Engine snag
Image caption,The flight had 216 passengers and 16 crew members on board

By Cherylann Mollan

BBC News, Mumbai

An Air India plane has taken off with stranded passengers from a US-bound flight after its plane made an emergency landing in Russia.

The Delhi-San Francisco flight had 216 passengers and 16 crew members on board when one of its engines developed a snag on Tuesday.

The plane was forced to land at Magadan in the Far East region of Russia.

On Thursday, the airline tweeted that the replacement flight had taken off and was headed to San Francisco.

On Wednesday, Air India said it had sent a ferry flight to Russia with food and other essentials for the passengers.

The airline had been criticised by many for the poor accommodation and facilities provided to the passengers in Magadan.

On Wednesday morning, a Twitter user shared a video which he said was taken by one of the passengers. The footage shows passengers sleeping on mattresses on the floor, several in a single room, with their belongings next to them.

The Air India said that due to “infrastructural limitations” around the airport, passengers had been put up in a “makeshift accommodation” after efforts were made to shift them to local hotels.

“As we do not have any Air India staff based in the remote town of Magadan or in Russia, all ground support being provided to the passengers is the best possible in this unusual circumstance through our round the clock liaison with the Consulate General of India in Vladivostok, Indian ministry of external affairs, local ground handlers and Russian authorities,” the airline said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the airline said that flight A1173 from Delhi to San Francisco had made a “safe landing” in Russia after it “developed a technical issue in one of its engines”. The “aircraft is undergoing the mandatory checks on the ground”, it added.

The United States said it was “monitoring the situation closely”.

Vedant Patel, State http://roketgubuk.com/ Department Deputy Spokesperson, told reporters “it was likely that there were US citizens on board the flight” but said he was “unable to confirm” their numbers.

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