Air India flight: A ferry flight departed from Mumbai for Russia's Magadan to take stranded Air India passengers to San Francisco on Wednesday. This development comes after an Air India flight which was headed to San Francisco from New Delhi, was diverted to Magadan on Tuesday after a technical issue with one of its engines.
According to the airline, the ferry flight will also carry food and other essentials for the passengers. In a statement, Air India, said, "A ferry flight is scheduled to operate to GDX from Mumbai, India (BOM) at 1300 Hours IST on 07 June 2023, subject to necessary regulatory clearances, which would take passengers and crew of AI173 onward to San Francisco."
Air India issues statement
The flight with 216 passengers and 16 crew was diverted to Magadan, Russia (GDX), where it landed safely. "All of us at Air India are concerned about the passengers and staff and are making every effort possible to operate the ferry flight as soon as possible, and to ensure the health, safety, and security of all while they wait," the air carrier company's statement added. The airline further said that it engaged with the local authorities at Magadan airport that extended all cooperation and support upon the flight's arrival.
"We can confirm that all passengers were eventually moved to a makeshift accommodation, after making sincere attempts to accommodate passengers in hotels locally with the help of local government authorities," Air India statement added. As Air India does not have any staff based in the remote town of Magadan or in Russia, all ground support being provided to the passengers through its liaison with the Consulate General of India in Vladivostok, Ministry of External Affairs (Government of India), local ground handlers, and the Russian authorities.
US says 'closely monitoring' the situation
Earlier on Tuesday (June 6), the United States said that it is "closely monitoring" the situation. Addressing the regular press briefing, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said that the situation is continuously being monitored as the US-bound flight had to make an emergency landing in Russia.
"I am not able to confirm how many US citizens were aboard the flight at this time. It was a flight that was bound for the United States. So, it is, of course, likely that there are American citizens on board," he said. In response to a question, Patel further said, "There's public reporting from Air India that they are sending – what my understanding is – a replacement aircraft to the destination to have the passengers carry on for their route, but I would defer to the air carrier to speak to anything further on this."
(With ANI inputs)