Nocturnal bats have been making headlines for over a year now. This time around, the mammal was spotted onboard a USA-bound flight from New Delhi. By Presha Mahajan
On May 27, a bat was found in an Air India flight from Delhi to Newark. By the time passengers and the cabin crew took notice of the fluttering mammal onboard, it had been 30 minutes since the scheduled take off at 02:20 am. The presence of this unusual guest was reported to the Air Traffic Control and naturally, the pilot was compelled to return to base at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
“AI-105 DEL-EWR returned back to base (Delhi) after departure due to this local standby emergency. On arrival, it was learnt that a bat was seen inside the cabin by crew members. Wildlife staff were called to catch and remove the bat from the cabin. The aircraft landed safely at around 03:55 am. Later, [the] flight was declared Aircraft on Grounded (AoG),” Air India Officials reported to ANI.
After the U-turn midair and subsequent landing, concerned passengers were relocated to a different, bat-free airplane. DGCA officials reportedly said that once the plane was emptied, flight AI-105 was fumigated and the dead mammal was recovered from the eighth row in business class. It finally arrived at Newark at 11:35 am local time.
Following the incident, a detailed investigation has been undertaken by Air India’s safety department. According to preliminary reports formulated by Air India’s engineering team, the incident took place due to incorrect loading of catering vehicles.“…every time, rats or bats come from their vehicle only,” an Air India official told ANI.
There have been similar incidents previously as well. In 2015, for instance, passengers on a London-bound Air India flight spotted a rat, causing the flight to turn-back midair.
Editor’s Note: Keeping the current situation of the pandemic in mind, T+L India recommends every reader to stay safe, and take all government-regulated precautions in case travel at this time is absolutely necessary. Please follow our stories on COVID-19 for all the latest travel guidelines.