All 68 passengers and crew members of a Bhutan Airlines flight were safely evacuated after smoke was seen coming out from the aircraft during its preparation for take-off from the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport here on Saturday, an official said.
“Bhutan Air flight B3 700 going to Bangkok was held at taxiway F2 after smoke was observed by another pilot. However nothing was found after the necessary check carried out by fire personnel,” said Airport Director Atul Dikshit.
“A total of 61 passengers and seven crew members disembarked and all are safe,” he said.
According to an Indian Coast Guard statement, Commandant K.R. Arjun and Deputy Commandant Pankaj Mishra, who were at the force’s hangar, saw smoke coming from the Bhutan Air (A5 BAB) airbus and observed that all its emergency chutes were deployed. The airbus was on a taxiway just 150 metres from its hangar.
Coast Guard officials provided first-aid to approximately 20 passengers with bruises, cuts and sprains, it said.
The Bhutan Airlines flight landed in Kolkata airport as scheduled. It was on ground for a little less than a hour with the standard APU operating procedure in operation. After embarkation of transit passengers bound for Bangkok, the aircraft had just finished pushed back for taxiing when the smoke was seen, said the airline’s Station Manager Joseph.
“The aircraft was on taxiway F2 and the Captain after starting both the engines, shut down the APU and was requesting ATC (air traffic control) to taxi off, when he received a call from a pilot on Indigo aircraft VT-INS that smoke was seen coming out of the tail section of the aircraft around the APU area,” he said.
The aircraft was thoroughly inspected by flight engineer and having no major damages, was ferried to Bangkok for reinstalling the emergency slides as without them installed, it is not authorised to carry any passengers, a statement said.
Meanwhile, all the stranded passengers in Kolkata were boarded on a relief aircraft that arrived from Bhutan’s Paro and took off for Bangkok after a delay of almost six hours, Joseph added.