A large panel in the belly of a Dreamliner of Air India, carrying around 150 passengers, fell off while landing at the Bangalore airport, prompting a probe by civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The incident occurred on Saturday. An 8X4 feet panel in the fuselage fell off as the plane from Delhi made a hard landing at the airport, leaving a gaping hole in the cargo hold area of the aircraft.

A spare panel was flown to Bangalore and fitted on the plane, officials said on Tuesday. But the return flight was delayed by over nine hours,

It was later found from the airport premises, official sources said here on Tuesday. the sources saidThere were 148 persons, including the crew, on board flight AI-803 which landed safely, they said, adding that the hole was noticed by the ground staff when they came to inspect the aircraft for its return journey.

A spare panel was flown to Bangalore and fitted on the Boeing 787, which was later declared fit to fly. But the return flight was delayed by over nine hours, they said.

Confirming the incident, airline officials said a panel had fallen off but was replaced and the aircraft was cleared for flights.

“Yes, there was a gaping hole. During the normal transit inspection, it was observed.

Engineers immediately rectified it,” an AI official said, requesting anonymity. “It was not an emergency. There was no safety problem,” he said, adding that the panel was located on the airport premises itself. – PTI

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