Dehradun: Officials of the Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGCA) inspected an aircraft on Sunday, a day after it made an emergency landing at Pantnagar airport in Uttarakhand. The Pantnagar-Pithoragarh bound aircraft made an emergency landing at the Pantnagar within minutes of taking off.
While officials claimed that the sudden landing was due to a technical snag, passengers on-board the aircraft said the door of the plane opened midair, leading to chaos. “It was a nightmare. A gate opened mid-air with a bang and a portion fell inside while a part of it dangled in the air,” said Pankaj Chand, who was in the flight with his wife and child.
Another Haldwani-based passenger, Lokesh Bora, told News18; “I was sitting close to the aircraft gate when, within seven minutes of taking off, the door opened and then dangled in air. Before taking off, a co-pilot had come to check the gate.”
Infuriated, Bora complained to the PMO and DGCA about the harrowing experience. The aircraft was carrying eight passengers to Pithoragarh.
But Rohit Mathur, managing director of Heritage Aviation -- which operates the aircraft -- refuted the allegations that the airplane gate opened midway. “There was some technical snag, the aircraft also has some cracks. The DGCA team checked and we are hopeful of getting a positive report,” said Mathur, adding “The gate cannot open mid-air.”
SK Singh, director, Pantnagar Airport, confirmed that a team from DGCA had inspected the aircraft. “The aircraft was grounded after it experienced technical snag. A team from DGCA which inspected the aircraft will submit its report on Monday,” he said.
The Dehradun-Pithoragarh-Pantnagar air service started on January 17 under the UDAN scheme. The air service has received a good response from the passengers willing to travel Pithoragarh, which shares international boundary with China and Nepal. However, in the last 23 days, the air service has been suspended six times owing to technical issues.
Meanwhile, the state government said that it will review the terms and conditions of the MoU signed with the state government, DGCA and Heritage Aviation. “I have also received complained (about the gate opening mid-air). DGCA has to take a call on this, however, we will also check at our end” told Dileep Jawalkar, secretary (civil aviation) Uttarakhand.
(With inputs from Vijay Vardhan in Pithoragarh)