Midair scare for AI passengers

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VIJAYAWADA: The passengers of Delhi-Vijayawada Air India (AI-544) flight spent about 45 minutes of anxious moments as the pilot made efforts to land the flight safely in heavy rain at the Gannavaram airport here.

There were 42 passengers in the aircraft. The flight roamed in the air for a little over 40 minutes due to zero visibility due to heavy rain.

The Air India flight had, in fact, reached the airport around 30 minutes late in the evening against the actual arrival time of 4:35pm.

Coupled with the thundershowers, fast winds did not give the pilot an opportunity to land at the airport.

Sources said the pilot contacted the air traffic control for guidance but failed to land the flight on the right path. Later, as the signals went out, the pilot took to the skies and hovered over the city for about 45 minutes.

The passengers panicked as the flight was taking a long time to land. The passengers heaved a sigh of relief after the flight finally landed at the airport at 5.57pm.

Airport authorities refused to comment on the incident. The flight departed at around 6.20pm after the rain receded.

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