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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Pilots gets locked in restroom...... Air India flight makes emergency landing at Bhopal

In rickety lifts in old buildings, people sometimes could get trapped inside until some outside help saves them…. It is commonly held that in highways, especially, in night, cleaners are on wheels while drivers would take rest…..we have had drivers driving recklessly, some of them not possessing the valid license and not acquiring the required skills; we have heard of trains having run some distance with none in control…….. Bus drivers could miss the route and take you to a wrong destination ~ buses could stop at unscheduled locations... et al…. 

It is jocularly told that some would travel ‘without’ tickets on a train – when the Ticket Checking Examiner turns, they would occupy the toilet – if doors are knocked, one ticket would be shown from inside, while there could be more than one inside. !! – can you imagine of people getting locked in the rest room of a train ?  Air travel is the safest one – the navigation is taken care of by experienced by Pilots assisted by Co-pilots and host of electronic gadgets…………

This news item published in Daily Mail UK of 15.5.13 would shake your confidence………… it is the news of an Air India flight making emergency landing in Bhopal after pilot is locked out of the cockpit.  The news of Mail Today Bureau states “Air India lived up to its rather dubious reputation once again as another incident in the air created panic among the passengers on board and forced an emergency landing. The national carrier's flight AI-403 from New Delhi to Bangalore on Monday evening had to be diverted to Bhopal after the Captain was locked out of the cockpit because of a technical snag.  The Airbus A-320, with 135 passengers on board, landed at Bhopal's Raja Bhoj Airport under emergency conditions where the passengers remained stranded for over two hours.  Almost an hour after the flight took off from Delhi, the pilot, who had come out of the cockpit for a toilet break, found its door jammed when he went back to take his seat. The Captain called the crew members for help, but they failed to open the door, said an Air India official who did not want to be named.

Because of this technical snag [!], flight AI-403 from New Delhi to Bangalore had to be diverted to Bhopal. According to sources in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in New Delhi, the cockpit door locked shut and failed to open despite all efforts as the rivet was not working properly. However, as the Captain and the crew gathered out the cockpit, the passengers started panicking. A senior DGCA official said: "This was something unheard of. Fortunately, no one was hurt. But the passengers pressed the panic button. No one would have imagined this to happen, including the main flight commander. "After all attempts to open the cockpit door failed, the copilot, who was inside the cockpit, decided to make an emergency landing in Bhopal," the official added.

Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh, said: 'We have taken the incident seriously. The DGCA is investigating the matter'. The co-pilot was forced to go for an emergency landing as he was only left with a trainee pilot in the cockpit who was not equipped to handle the route. The co-pilot radioed ground control and explained the situation. The ATC immediately alerted Bhopal's Raja Bhoj Airport which made all necessary arrangements for an emergency landing. "However, the plane made a soft landing at the airport," Vivek Upadhyay, director of the Bhopal airport, said.  The local AI engineers took about an hour to rectify the snag. "It took more than 30 minutes to open the jammed door. After two hours, the flight took off," Firoz Khan, Air India's station manager at Bhopal airport, said.

The AI-403 flight is a premium, direct flight on Delhi- Bangalore route. The cockpit door blunder was the latest in a string of safety related incidents involving Air India. On April 12, a Bangkok-New Delhi flight saw two air hostesses getting locked with the pilots in the cockpit, and even occupying the Captain's seat briefly, posing a big safety risk to the passengers.

It reads : The pilot of a Bangalore-bound Air India aircraft, with around 125 passengers on board, landed under emergency conditions at Bhopal airport when he found the cockpit door jammed as he tried to open it to visit the washroom, airline sources said today. The pilot of Airbus A-320 wanted to go to the washroom but he found the door locked, they said.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
15th May 2013.


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