MUMBAI, Dec. 17 (UPI) — An Air India technician died after he got sucked into the live engine of an airplane as it was being pushed back for takeoff at the Mumbai Airport.
The incident at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on Wednesday traumatized many of the 100 or so passengers who were on the flight, The Times of India reported. The technician was identified as Ravi Subramanium.
The incident may have occurred due to a miscommunication between the aircraft’s co-pilot, who was in training, and Subramanium. The co-pilot and pilot, a senior captain, have been indefinitely grounded as investigations continue, NDTV reported.
The A-319 aircraft was en route to Hyderabad when it was being pushed back with the help of technicians from the parking bay toward the runway. Most planes can only move forward so a tow van helps push planes back.
“No one knew what happened. All of a sudden we hear that we heard that the technician has been sucked into the engine,” an airline official said, as quoted by The Times of India. Another official said “the body has been badly mutilated.”
India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation has launched an investigation into the incident. Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani will be arriving to Mumbai on Thursday.
“We are deeply saddened and regret this tragic incident,” Lohani said in a statement. “This is being investigated. Our heartfelt condolence to the bereaved family.”