Air India flight with 136 on board hits airport wall (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

The belly of the Air India Express aircraft was damaged after hitting the Trichy airport wall

An Air India Express flight to Dubai from Tamil Nadu's Tiruchirappalli airport, carrying 136 passengers, had a miraculous escape during take-off early Friday morning. However, it was declared was declared fit for operations after inspection at Mumbai Airport.

The plane was then diverted to the western city of Mumbai where it landed safely.

After the incident, an internal inquiry has been set up.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation, which investigates aviation accidents and incidents, has been informed about the incident. All 176 passengers and 14 crew members on board Air India flight AI-101, operating on Delhi-New York route on October 10, are safe, the source said.

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"The plane lost contact with air traffic control officials and landed in Mumbai after around four hours", an official said.

It is yet to be ascertained whether a technical snag or pilot error was responsible for the incident, they added. The pilots, were reportedly unaware of the damage and reported that all systems were functioning normally. The matter was conveyed to the pilot in command. However, they were asked to divert to Mumbai anyway as a precaution, NDTV reported. The two pilots have been de-rostered pending investigation. "The matter has been duly reported to the DGCA and the airline is fully cooperating with the investigation", the airline said.

Tamil Nadu Tourism Minister Vellamandi N Natarajan who assessed the spot said, "The flight with its passengers has reached Mumbai safely".

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