Special Air India plane carrying Indian nurses lands in Mumbai, to reach Kochi by noon

Anxious kin of evacuated Indian nurses from Iraq await the arrival of the Air India special plane outside the Cochin International Airport on Saturday. Photo: Thulasi Kakkat  

The Air India's wide body Boeing 777 LR carrying >46 Indian nurses and 137 others from strife-torn Iraq took off for Kochi after landing in Mumbai for a 'technical halt' on Saturday.

The special Air India plane landed in Mumbai at 8:43 a.m., for refuelling purposes, an airport official said.

The drama over the return of 46 Indian nurses stranded in the civil war-ravaged Iraq continues unabated on Saturday morning after the arrival of special Air India aircraft carrying them got delayed by over five hours adding to the >anxiety of parents and relatives waiting at the Cochin International Airport Ltd. (CIAL). (Also read >Neenu returns home to celebrate her most memorable birthday / >An unexpected homecoming for Nithyamol)

Though the aircraft was supposed to touch down at Nedumbassery, about 30 kilometers away from Kochi, at 6.40 a.m., the arrival was rescheduled for 11.55 a.m.

Air India sources told The Hindu that the flight will be carrying 183 evacuees, 23 airline crew and three government officials.

Many relatives had already reached the airport in the early hours anticipating the arrival of the flight at the originally scheduled time. The news about the delay heightened the tension of several parents and relatives.

The delay was attributed to the many hurdles faced in the operation of an unscheduled flight. “Clearances had to be taken from all countries covered during the course of the flight to use their airspace since it was an unscheduled operation. The paper work of the passengers was another cause of delay,” airline sources told The Hindu. The aircraft will also have a stopover at Mumbai for refueling.

CIAL had made all arrangements for receiving the flight and its occupants at any hour.

The delay proved a blessing for the huge media contingent assembled at the airport from early morning and in some cases since last Friday late night. Relatives and friends of the nurses hardly had any time to relax with the national and local media vying with one another for interviews.

The usual berating of governments and embassy officials, which is the norm during such evacuations, was missing to a large extent with relatives profusely thanking the all round support extended by various agencies.

Earlier PTI report: >Special plane carrying Indian nurses from Iraq to reach Mumbai at 9.30 a.m.

Also read:

Exclusive: >Militants treated us well, provided food, says a nurse from Kerala

>Nurses safe, homeward bound

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 4:21:43 PM |

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