On most flights I’ve been on, everything gets held up even if something as minor as the latch that holds the rolling trash-dolly in place is too tarnished. Only after it’s perfect can the plane take off. That sure as hell wasn’t the case with this Air India flight, which kept right on going even after the pilot clipped the top off a brick wall and whacked into an instrumentation tower.
Even though the impacts should have been clearly audible and felt to the 130 passengers on the flight leaving Tiruchirappalli International Airport in Tamil Nadu, India, the pilot just presumably thought, “ah, screw it,” and continued heading into the sky.
This Air India Express Boeing 737-800 which rammed into the boundary wall and clipped runway ILS instrumentation would have been hurtling down the runway at about 250 kms ... Its a miracle it flew and a miracle that there were no casualties. pic.twitter.com/NPy5VQDPVA
— Vishnu Som (@VishnuNDTV) October 12, 2018
According to India’s National Post,
“We informed the pilot about the hit,” the airport director told the IANS news service. “The pilot said nothing was wrong with the plane as the systems were functioning normally. But we found some parts of the plane, like an antenna, on the ground.”
About two hours into the flight, with the plane already halfway to Dubai, the flight was recalled to Mumbai, where it landed without incident, and no injuries.
When the plane was inspected, it was discovered that the aluminium skin of the underside of the fuselage had been ripped open, exposing the honeycomb material inside. Oh, and there were sections of fencing wrapped around the landing gear, too.
Both pilot and co-pilot have been taking off the flying roster. There is no word yet as to whether they’ll have to help put that wall back together.