News Flash – 1 November 2019

National News



Two Emergency Landings in Seven Hour’s Keep Airport Staff on Toes


Kolkata: An Airbus A320neo engine failure forced a flight that had just departed from Kolkata airport with 174 passengers to return and make a full emergency landing on one engine late on Wednesday. The airport had to brace for another full emergency on Thursday morning after a Bombardier Dash-8 Q400 aircraft that had just taken off with 76 passengers encountered a problem with the landing gear. The twin emergencies within a span of six-and-a-half hours tested the airport’s readiness in exigencies with the fire and medical unit as well as airport ground support staff and air traffic control working in tandem. Luckily, both planes made a safe touchdown, much to the relief of passengers on board as well as airline and airport officials on the ground. The first emergency occurred shortly after IndiGo’s Kolkata-Pune flight took off at 9.42pm. As the captain applied max throttle to make a quick climb, one engine failed to respond. The captain saw one of the two engines wind down in engine gauges. The latter, present in the cockpit instrument panel, display the functioning of the engines. Realising the need to return, the captain stabilised the aircraft to run on a single engine and contacted the ATC, informing the controller of the problem and requesting for a full emergency landing. “Modern planes can run on a single engine but pilots are required to exercise caution and follow the SOP that clearly instructs the captain to head to the closest airport in the event of an engine failure,” a veteran pilot explained The SOS call to the ATC triggered an immediate response.



Fire tenders were scrambled into position as were medical units, to attend to a possible fire outbreak. In the plane, as the aircraft banked to make the turn, the pilot announced that the flight was heading back to Kolkata due to a technical issue. There were murmurs of concern among passengers but few realised one of the engines had died down. As the flight approached Kolkata, the ATC cleared the way, putting departing and arriving flights on hold. The Indi-Go flight finally touched down at 9.58pm and headed for the parking bay with the fire tenders and ambulance in tow. This is not the first instance of engine trouble in A320neo. Civil aviation regulator DGCA had on Monday ordered IndiGo to modify its 16 Airbus A320neo aircraft fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines, linked to in-flight shutdowns, within 15 days to avoid their grounding. On Tuesday, the DGCA asked GoAir to stop flying the 13 A320neo planes powered by the P&W 1100 series engines within 15 days. The other emergency occurred shortly after the Spice-Jet flight to Bagdogra took off at 6.11am. After the lift-off, the captain tried to retract the landing gear but it jammed. After attempts to disengage it failed, the captain radioed the ATC and informed the controller, seeking permission to return. Yet again, full emergency procedures were rolled out. The plane did a U-turn and headed back to Kolkata and touched down at 6.36am without further trouble.



Government Readies Disaster Relief Teams as Rain Lashes State

MAROONED: An inundated house Lourdammalpuram in Tuticorin district. Storage levels of many reservoirs in southern districts increased due to incessant rain.



Chennai/Madurai/Ooty: The depression over Maldives-Comorin area has intensified into cyclonic storm Maha and Tamil Nadu has deployed five state disaster response force teams in Kanyakumari, Dindigul, Coimbatore, Trichy and Kancheepuram districts. The National Disaster Response Force has also been kept ready. “About 100 people in Tiruvallur and Tuticorin districts were evacuated to government relief centres. Fishermen have been asked not to put out to sea on the west coast for 48 hours,” said an official release. In the Nilgiris, heavy rain caused landslips, damaged roads and houses at various places. As many as 12 landslips occurred between Burlier and Coonoor on Mettupalayam-Coonoor road due to heavy rain on Wednesday night. The road was closed for traffic at least for two and a half hours from 4am on Thursday. The incessant rain and gusts uprooted seven huge trees. Four houses were partially damaged in Coonoor taluk, while two cars were damaged after a wall collapsed on the vehicles. The rain lashing the southern districts resulted in substantial increase in water level in many reservoirs with the water level in Papanasam and Servalaru dams in Tirunelveli district going up by 5 feet in a day.



Madurai experienced a day of drizzle with occasional sunshine with the roads inundated on Wednesday turning into pools of slush and mud in many parts of the city. There was heavy flow of water into the Vaigai with people gathering on the banks to see the river in full flow. Water ran over the causeway in Obulapadithurai for a short period on Thursday afternoon preventing people from crossing it. Ban on bathing in the flooded Courtallum falls continued for the third consecutive day. The Mukoodal dam in Kanyakumari district reached its full capacity of 25 feet and the inflow of 30 cusecs was discharged into the river. A holiday was declared for schools and colleges in Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts due to the heavy rain. Other southern districts of Sivaganga, Tuticorin, Ramanathapuram, Virudhuangar and Dindigul also experienced heavy to moderate rainfall and water level in many reservoirs were seen going up. The official release further said that probable landslide areas were being monitored continuously and interdepartmental teams set up for immediate rescue operation. Arrangements have been made for ambulances, medical teams and relief centres for the needy. “At least 8.72 lakh sand bags had been stocked to meet the crisis in affected areas,” it said. Efforts had been taken to search and rescue fishermen who ventured into the sea for deep sea fishing in eight boats, through Union government, Navy, Coast Guard and merchant vessels.



International News



74 Passengers Killed in Pakistan Train Inferno

The blaze engulfed three train cars. Many were killed when they leapt from the moving train to escape the flames.



Lahore: A fire swept through a Pakistani train on Thursday, killing 74 people and injuring nearly 40 after two gas cylinders of stoves that passengers were using to cook breakfast exploded, the minister of railways said. The fire destroyed three of the train’s carriages near the town of Rahim Yar Khan in the south of Punjab province. It was on its way to Rawalpindi, near the capital, from the southern city of Karachi, with many people travelling to a religious gathering. “Two stoves blew up when people were cooking breakfast, the presence of kerosene with the passengers in the moving train further spread the fire,” minister of railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told Geo television. Many of the dead were killed when they leapt from the moving train to escape the flames, he said. People sneaking stoves onto trains to prepare meals on long journeys is a common problem, the minister said. Shortly before the fire broke out, the conductor had ordered some passengers to stop cooking but they had ignored him, Ahmed said. But several survivors questioned whether the fire was sparked by a cooking accident, telling media they believed the cause was a short-circuit in the train’s electrical system. Television pictures showed fire and black smoke pouring from the train’s windows after it came to a stop on a stretch of line flanked by fields.



“People were jumping off, some of them were on fire,” a witness told Geo. Some of the victims were burned beyond recognition, said the deputy commissioner of the district, Jameel Ahmad. “We’ll have to carry out DNA tests,” Ahmad said. Nearly 40 people were injured, many with serious burns, he said. Many of the passengers were heading to a conference organised by the Tablighi Jamaat Sunni Muslim missionary movement, officials said. PM Imran Khan said he was deeply saddened. “I have ordered an immediate inquiry to be completed on an urgent basis,” Khan said in a post on Twitter. Train accidents in Pakistan are often the result of poor railway infrastructure and official negligence. Media reports on Thursday suggest that railways officials did not notice when passengers boarded the train, carrying individual gas stoves. The railway minister has admitted his administration’s failure for not checking the cylinders the passengers brought with them. “It was our fault. And we will investigate it,” he said and announced Rs 1.5 million compensation for each of the deceased and Rs 500,000 for the injured. It was the worst disaster on Pakistan’s accident-plagued railway system in nearly 15 years. About 130 people were killed in 2005 when a train rammed into another at a station in Sindh province, and a third train hit the wreckage.

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