Passenger recounts mid-air scare after Vistara aircraft hovers over airports with barely any fuel

NEW DELHI: A Vistara flight en route to New Delhi landed at the Lucknow airport with barely any fuel left. Bad weather conditions forced the plane to fly out from Delhi to Lucknow and then Lucknow to Prayagraaj, before landing in Lucknow.

Recounting the journey aboard the Vistara flight UK944 operating on Mumbai-Delhi route, senior journalist Sheela Bhatt called it an experience "worst than Gemini Circus's Giant wheel." She also reproduced another traveller's experience on a social media platform.

Gerry Menezes, a Samsung employee, was also on the plane, Sheela Bhatt says. Narrating his experience, Menezes said the Vistara flight, which was already running 45 minutes behind schedule, hit turbulence 300 kms away from Delhi. "For what seemed like an eternity - but in earth hours about 15 minutes, the craft felt like a paper plane in a room with 12 table fans. We swung, we swayed, we fell, we rose, and we went gravity-less. We clung to our seat handles, dug out feet, stiffened our muscles, glued to our backrests, tightened our seatbelts till the buckle hit the lower spine, and we prayed..."

While Gerry thought that the worst was over, it was only the beginning. The plane that was close to touching the runaway suddenly gained height. "A good 500 seconds later (yes it was 500 long seconds later) the pilot announced that due to an unavoidable situation he had to pull up... and it was done keeping the safety of the passengers in mind. And off we were headed to Lucknow...," the post read.

However, the conditions were not favourable to make a landing there as well. The crew then considered alternative airfields, including Kanpur and Prayagraj to touchdown. Ultimately, the flight was landed with low-fuel at Lucknow.

"En route Prayagraj, Lucknow ATC informed the crew that the weather in Lucknow had improved significantly following which the crew decided to return to Lucknow due to better passenger and aircraft support," the airline said in its statement.

The civil aviation watchdog, DGCA, has grounded the Vistara pilot over the incident. The pilot-in-command must declare a situation of fuel emergency by broadcasting "Mayday Mayday Mayday Fuel", when the calculated usable fuel estimated to be available upon landing at the nearest airport - where a safe landing can be made - is less than the planned final reserve fuel, as per DGCA rules.





Fast, accurate and updated real time local news is available on your smartphone and tablet.