Air India pilots suspended after fatal freak accident

MUMBAI • Air India has suspended a pilot and co-pilot after a technician was sucked into an aircraft engine in Mumbai, the BBC reported yesterday.

The freak accident occurred on Wednesday evening soon after the pilots started the engines prematurely after mistaking a signal from the ground staff, according to reports.

The body of the victim, identified as Mr Ravi Subramanian, was so badly mutilated that it could not be sent for post-mortem examination, the Press Trust of India said.

India's national carrier wrote on its official Twitter handle that one of its technicians had "died in a mishap during pushback of flight AI 619" at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji airport.

The airline's chairman and managing director, Mr Ashwani Lohani, told reporters in Mumbai that the incident seemed to have been caused by a "communication gap" but did not elaborate further.

"We are deeply saddened and regret the tragic incident," he was also quoted as saying.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2015, with the headline 'Air India pilots suspended after fatal freak accident'. Print Edition | Subscribe