Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia
Air India Flight AI173 bound for San Francisco from Delhi, was diverted to the remote Russian city of Magadan, on Tuesday, June 6, because of an engine glitch, stated the Tata Group-owned private carrier. The flight, carrying 216 passengers and 16 crew, has landed safely in Russia.
The US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said that the United States is closely monitoring the situation after the flight made an emergency landing.
“I am not able to confirm how many US citizens were aboard the flight at this time. It was a flight that was bound for the United States. So, it is, of course, likely that there are American citizens on board."Vedant Patel, The US State Department Deputy Spokesperson
What We Know
In a statement released on Tuesday, Air India confirmed that all the passengers and crew have been given accommodation in hotels in Magadan. Moreover, the passengers will be provided with an alternate option to reach their destination at the earliest.
According to reports and some photos and videos shared by passengers on social media is that they have been accommodated in dormitories and not hotels.
The airline also stated that the aircraft is currently undergoing mandatory checks adding the passengers are being provided with all support on the ground. Departure from Magadan has been delayed due to the staff working through regulatory issues in order to operate the flight.
A stranded passenger named Gagan updated NDTV about the situation via phone.
"There are over 230 people. Lots of children and older people. Our bags are still in the aircraft. We were sent on buses to different locations. Some people were sent to a school and are lying on mattresses on the floor. The toilet facilities are not right. Language is a barrier. The food here is very, very different. There's a lot of seafood and non-veg. Some people are just eating bread and soup. Older people running out of medicine."Gagan, Air India Flight AI173 passenger to NDTV
He also added, "But the other place, where some more passengers are present, is a school. They have just moved the benches and people are lying on mattresses in the classroom. There are about 20 people in one room. I heard they couldn't arrange proper food. They were given Coke and bread.
Air India's latest update
Air India released updates in a statement on its Twitter handle on Wednesday which said that a ferry flight is scheduled to operate to GDX from Mumbai in 1300 hours IST, today which would take passengers and crew of Al173 onward to San Francisco. Also, this ferry flight would be carrying food and other essentials for its passangers.
Families of passengers have reached out to Air India and other families on social media sharing information of what they know and asking the authorities for updates.
Some stranded passengers had shared photos and videos on social media updating about the situation.