Emergency crews and fire tenders took positions as an Air India flight landed at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Hyderabad when pieces of rubber were found on the runway after it took off in Delhi airport on Wednesday evening.
All the 83 passengers on AI-839 and five crew members disembarked safely.
The aircraft took off from Delhi at 1650 hours, and minutes later, the airport staff inspecting the runway tarmac noticed some pieces of rubber, and suspected that one of the tyres of the aircraft could have burst. The Delhi ATC had informed the pilots and their counterparts in Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), and an emergency was declared.
The passengers were not informed about the impending emergency landing. Immediately after the Airbus 321 landed at 1921hrs, the aircraft was stopped in middle of the runway and passengers were made to disembark using a step ladder. The aircraft was later towed away from the terminal where engineers began inspecting it.
“The flight landed normally. All the passengers and crew are safe. There is no tyre burst, but only decapping of tyres because of which pieces of rubber were found on the runway”, an Air India spokesperson told The Hindu later.
The Hyderabad-bound passengers spent tense moments as they were told about a possible tyre burst after the plane made a “somewhat rough landing”. “The aircraft was stopped in middle of the runway. We could see emergency crew rushing to the aircraft and ambulances and fire tenders being stationed near the runway”, a relative of a passenger narrated.
The captain made an announcement about a possible tyre burst, and then later ordered that all mobile phones be switched off. Panic stricken passengers had by then called their dear ones and communicated that something was certainly wrong with the aircraft. It was only they disembarked, they were allowed to switch on their mobiles again.