The flight crew of Air India A330 aircraft which was operating from Delhi to Shanghai on 5 July 2012 has been grounded, finally.
A day after the Mid Day exposed how the flight’s captain restrained crew from reporting the incident or even talking about it, a statement from the civil aviation ministry said the crew has been grounded pending investigation following the incident of aircraft encountering turbulence due to which two cabin crew and one passenger were injured.
The action by the ministry comes almost 20 days after the actual incident.
“The incident is being investigated by the Office of Director Air Safety (WR) in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The DFDR data has been obtained to analyse the attitude of the aircraft during the turbulence phase.”
The Mid Day story said that on 5 July, AI 348 Delhi-Shanghai on was caught in a major turbulence mid-air, resulting in as many as 18 passengers—including a Delhi-based businessman—and two cabin crew persons sustaining injuries.
The story said that the flight started its journey from Delhi to Shanghai with 60 passengers and 11 crewmembers on board at around 11.40 am and was in Indian airspace at around 1.15 pm when it witnessed a major turbulence.
“Everything was fine during the first one and a half hours of the journey. The trouble started following an announcement for all passengers and crew to be seated; approximately 10 minutes later the aircraft entered an air pocket, experiencing major turbulence. Passengers fell down on the floor, most of armrests were damaged, the overhead baggage locker opened up and some of the gear tumbled down on passengers, pillows and blankets were flying around inside the plane and one of the toilets partially caved in,” a crew member present said.
This story quoted SPS Suri, the commander of this aircraft as saying: “There is nothing to hide. We reported the matter on the very day to DGCA and the airline. A proper inquiry is in progress. Those who got hurt are people who did not listen to the instructions of the pilot and we cannot do anything about that.”