An Air India flight scraped a brick wall on takeoff Friday, leaving gashes along the under belly of the airliner’s fuselage and forcing it to make an emergency landing.
All 136 passengers and crew aboard the Boeing 737 landed safely at another airport and were put on another flight to Dubai, officials said.
The aircraft took off early Friday from Trichy in Tamil Nadu when air traffic controllers warned the pilots they may have hit the wall. Photos showed huge holes in the perimeter wall where the landing gear and fuselage hit.
The aircraft also apparently hit some of the landing lights near the runway.
“The pilot in command reported that the aircraft systems were operating normally,” Air India said in a statement.
The plane reached cruising altitude and flew for three hours before it was diverted to Mumbai as a precaution. The extent of the damage to the aircraft was not immediately reported.
Air India removed the pilots from duty pending the investigation. One has 36,000 hours flying 737s. The airport is also investigating the incident.
Indian Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said he wants a third-party professional organization to investigate safety protocols at Air India, saying “growth can’t be at the expense of safety.”00