Video Editor: Mohd. Irshad Alam
When SpiceJet Boeing 737 took off from Patna to Delhi on Sunday, 19 June, Captain Monicaa Khanna – the pilot in-charge – was informed by the cabin crew about sparks coming out of engine number one.
On receiving the information, Captain Khanna first switched off the affected engine, and along with First Officer Balpreet Singh Bhatia, skilfully carried out an 'overweight landing' of flight SG 723 – ensuring that 200 people onboard remained unharmed during the emergency landing.
"Only a single engine was functioning when the plane landed back. Engineers inspected the aircraft, and confirmed that a fan blade and engine were damaged after a bird hit," news agency ANI quoted Gurcharan Arora, SpiceJet's chief of flight operations.
“Captain Monika Khanna and first officer Balpreet Singh Bhatia conducted themselves well during the incident. They were calm throughout, and handled the aircraft well. They are experienced officers and we're proud of them."Gurcharan Arora
Captain Khanna joined SpiceJet in 2018. Meanwhile Bhatia, who graduated from Emirates Aviation University, joined the company in 2019, after working for Jet Airways for two years.
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A senior official with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation told media that the cockpit crew suspected a bird hit on engine one. However, they did not observe any abnormality, and the aircraft continued to climb further.
"But the cabin crew noticed sparks from the engine one. They informed the pilot in-charge who carried out SOP for engine fire, followed by engine shutdown. They then signaled a PA-PAN alert to the air traffic control and landed safely," he said.
"The aircraft landed safely in Patna and passengers were de-boarded. Post-flight inspection showed a bird hit with three blades damaged," SpiceJet explained further, about the turbulent 19-minute flight.
Both Khanna and Bhatia have joined the investigation conducted by the DGCA and internally by SpiceJet. They will also not be deployed for flight operations for the next few days.
'Excellent Skills': Twitter Heaps Praise on Captain Khanna
“Captain Monicaa Khanna has done a great job. Patna is a nightmare airport even in best of times and carrying an overweight landing at this crucial airport in such difficult circumstances is applaud worthy. For decades, we have been hearing that Patna will get another airport but has remained just talk," a senior commander of a top Indian airline told The Times of India.