Plane Crashes In India
Jan. 09, 1993
NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ An Indian Airlines plane carrying 163 people crashed in heavy fog while trying to land at New Delhi airport early Saturday morning, officials said. All aboard survived.
The Soviet-built Tu-154 jet was one of six that state-owned Indian Airlines had leased from Uzbek Airlines to break a month-old pilots' strike. Hours after the crash, civil aviation minister Madhavrao Scindia submitted his resignation the airline ordered the other five planes grounded.
Only six people were hospitalized, even though the plane broke up, caught fire and overturned at Indira Gandhi International Airport, officials said.
''It was a great miracle. It was a very serious accident, but there were no fatalities,'' said Harbans Kumar, the airport director.
One of the first people to reach the plane, senior airport official Anuhul Jayahar, saw passengers fleeing from the burning wreckage.
''I don't know how they got out, but it looks like the plane caught fire after most of them had come out of the plane,'' he said.
The leased Russian-built Tu-154 jet, bound from Hyderabad to New Delhi, overshot the landing strip, airline officials said.
Seventy fire trucks were at the accident scene.
Earlier news reports had said at least 40 people were dead or injured aboard the flight, which was carrying 152 passengers and 11 crew members, nine from Uzbekistan and two from India.
The crew was hired from Uzbek Airlines when Indian Airlines' junior pilots went on strike Dec. 10 for higher pay. The airline said the plane was one of six leased from Uzbek Airlines.
The pilots' union had protested that the Tu-154s were unsafe, and accused the state-owned airline of putting passengers at risk in order to break the strike.
The airline said the planes underwent safety inspections before they were used in India.
Hyderabad is 1,000 miles south of New Delhi in south-central India.