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Home > News > PTI

Los Angeles: Stranded Air India passengers finally on their way

December 23, 2005 03:34 IST

The misery of Air India passengers which started on Monday has finally ended with a new aircraft carrying them taking off successfully from Los Angeles to New Delhi via Frankfurt, after their initial plane blew a tire upon take off from Los Angles airport.

The New Delhi-bound Air India flight with 249 passengers and 18 crew members first made an emergency landing at the Los Angeles International Airport on Monday after it blew a tire on takeoff and dumped fuel over the ocean.

While no physical injuries were reported during the landing that shed 200 pounds of rubber and metal on the runway, a woman was taken to hospital after fainting and some passengers were treated for anxiety.

On Tuesday, the passengers tried again, settling into a different Air India jumbo jet, but this time, one of the engines wouldn't start. For about five hours, travellers sat in the sweltering plane, the Los Angeles Times reported today.

Flight attendants locked up the drinks. Some passengers staged a mini revolt, the paper said.

Weary passengers were taken off the plane andsent by busto a hotel, arriving at 2:30 am local time Wednesday.

They returned to the airport later Wednesday for their third attempt, a flight set to depart at 1:00 pm. After some further delays, the flight finally took off at around 4:30 pm bound for Frankfurt, Germany, and New Delhi.

All in all, after two nights with little sleep, endless waits in line and three scheduled flights, their ordeal stretched to a 45-hour delay, the paper said. "It's been a nightmare," Jaswinder Toor, a self-employed contractor from California told the paper as he waited on Wednesday.

"Some didn't make it to important lectures. Others lost precious vacation days. And a few worried they would miss once-in-a-lifetime family events."

"I want to be at that wedding, otherwise I'll get very mad," said Gursharan Toor, 16, as he stood in line with his family, a Red Bull in one hand and a fruit juice in the other. "I only have one sister," he said.

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