Guwahati, June 11 -- Passengers on board an Air India flight had a close shave after one of the nose wheels of the aircraft fell off shortly after take-off from Silchar, southern Assam, around 9 am on Sunday.
The aircraft, however, managed to land safely at Guwahati's Lokapriya Gopinath Bardoloi International Airport around 10.30 am. The SilcharGuwahati flight was carrying 51 people - 46 passengers, two pilots, two airhostesses and an engineer.
Following instructions from the Guwahati air traffic control (ATC) unit, the ATR9760 aircraft hovered over the airport for an hour to reduce fuel and minimise the chance of a fire in case of a crash landing.
Coordinating with the ATC, captain Urmila Yadav and her co-pilot, Yashu, landed the nose wheel as late as they could. CM Tarun Gogoi later acknowledged their deft piloting. Relieved passengers spoke of the harrowing time they had, after being told to prepare for an emergency landing. While two women fainted, a man suffered seizures.
A Guwahati ATC official said the Silchar ATC noticed an object falling from the aircraft. "The ground crew found it to be a nose wheel."
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.