Air India to Deploy Flight to Russia's Magadan to Help Stranded Passengers
The Tata Group airline further verified that all passengers were staying in temporary quarters in Magada.
MOSCOW: A replacement aircraft from Air India will be sent to Russia's Magadan, where 216 passengers and 16 staff members have been stranded since Tuesday, and are expected to leave Mumbai at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. Due to a problem with one of its engines, their flight AI-173 from Delhi to San Francisco was diverted to the outlying Russian village.
“A ferry flight is scheduled to operate to GDX (Magadan) 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. The ferry flight would be carrying food and other essentials for our passengers,” Air India said in a statement.
Given the limited infrastructure around the remote airport, the Tata Group airline also verified that all passengers were being lodged in temporary accommodations in Magadan "after making sincere attempts to accommodate passengers in hotels locally with the help of local government authorities."
Videos of the stranded passengers being housed in temporary quarters in what looks to be a nearby school started to circulate on social media.
“As we do not have any Air India staff based in the remote town of Magadan or in Russia, all ground support being provided to the passengers is the best possible in this unusual circumstance through our round-the-clock liaison with the Consulate General of India in Vladivostok, Ministry of External Affairs (Government of India), local ground handlers, and the Russian authorities,” the airline said.
Jyotiraditya Scindia, minister of civil aviation, is reportedly closely watching the situation, and the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) is in contact with Air India, which has confirmed that it is taking care of passengers, according to sources within the MoCA.
Considering its tense ties with Russia and the likelihood that US citizens are among the trapped passengers, the US has stated it is also closely monitoring the situation.
“So, 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… it was a flight that was bound for the United States. So, it is, of course, likely that there are American citizens on board,” US State Department’s Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel told journalists in Washington.