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AI flight with 200 passengers onboard returns due to rat

Air India

National carrier Air India’s Milan-bound flight carrying around 200 passengers from Indira Gandhi International Airport had to cut short its journey and return to the city after being airborne for more than two hours due suspected presence of a rodent onboard.

The incident happened last night.

Air India said that while the presence of the rodent in the cabin of its Dreamliner Boeing 787 aircraft was not confirmed but keeping passenger safety in mind the aircraft was brought back, airline said in a statement.

“AI 123, Delhi-Milan flight returned to Delhi due to suspected rat sighting. Though the presence of the rodent was not confirmed but keeping passenger safety in mind the aircraft was brought back. Air India gives utmost importance to safety,” the statement said.

Air India engineering team is investigating the incident, it said adding a standby aircraft was immediately made available to fly the passengers to Milan.

However, the aircraft with the suspected rodent will be fumigated as per procedure in such cases of rodent sighting. it said.

This was the second time in this year that the flag carrier’s flight was grounded as two months ago in a similar incident, an Air India aircraft had to be fumigated at the Leh airport after the sighting of a rodent in the cabin.

Last year also, an Air India aircraft for London from the city airport had to be fumigated after a rat was allegedly spotted on board.