Technician sucked into jet engine

MUMBAI • A technician working for Air India has died after being sucked into a jet engine as the plane pushed back for take-off at Mumbai airport.

The freak accident happened on Wednesday evening when the co-pilot of Flight AI619 to Hyderabad in India's south mistook a signal from ground staff and started the engine.

It sucked in Mr Ravi Subramanian, who was standing close by, the Press Trust of India reported, quoting anonymous sources at Air India, the Asian giant's national carrier.

The airline wrote on its official Twitter handle that one of its technicians had "died in a mishap during pushback of Flight AI619", without specifying exactly what happened.

"The incident is being investigated. Our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family," said the tweet.

Air India's chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani said "we are deeply saddened and regret the tragic incident" at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji airport, according to the post late on Wednesday.

The state-run carrier, which has not reported an annual profit since 2007, has been hit by a string of technical glitches and other embarrassing incidents, including staff turning up late for flights.

In April, the airline made headlines when it had to ground two of its pilots after a fight erupted between the pair just before take-off.

Wednesday's incident took place a week after a turboprop plane belonging to budget carrier SpiceJet hit a group of wild boars and skidded as it came in to land at Jabalpur airport in central India.

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2015, with the headline 'Technician sucked into jet engine'. Print Edition | Subscribe