The United States has said it is closely monitoring the state of the San Francisco-bound Air India flight that made an emergency landing in Russia.
Flight AI 173 from New Delhi was diverted to Magadan in Russia yesterday owing to an engine glitch, the Tata Group-owned private carrier said in a statement last evening. The flight, carrying 216 passengers and 16 crew, landed safely.
A relief aircraft will depart from Mumbai for Russia's Magadan to take stranded Air India passengers to San Francisco, Air India sources said today.
"We are aware of a US-bound flight that had to make an emergency landing in Russia and are continuing to monitor that situation closely. I'm not able to confirm how many US citizens were aboard the flight at this time," Indian-American State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters at his daily news conference.
"It was a flight that was bound for the United States. So, it is, of course, likely that there are American citizens on board. 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," Patel said in response to a question.
Departure of a replacement Air India flight bound for Magadan in order to fly out the stranded passengers has been delayed with Air India officials working through regulatory issues in order to operate the flight.
The exact time of departure of the replacement aircraft is yet to be confirmed. According to media reports, several stranded Air India passengers in Magadan are being accommodated in dormitories with hotel infrastructure in the area unable to cope with the number of passengers on the flight.