A day after 30 passengers of a Jet Airways flight suffered bleeding through ears and nose, a Mumbai activist on Friday asked the police to book the airline for ‘attempted murder’.
Activist Asad Ashraf Patel, who also runs a local newspaper, filed the complaint with Sahar Police Station through his lawyer, Rajkumarlaxman Arjunrao Rajhuns.
In the four-pager, Mr Patel has accused the crew of Jet Airways of ‘dereliction of duty’ and ‘poor crisis management’ leading to the incident on September 20 on its Mumbai-Jaipur flight No. 9W-0697.
The complainant said that after watching the entire episode unfurling on the media, he himself called up the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) authorities who confirmed the same.
“After an hour of high-altitude flying, the flight had to make an emergency landing and about 30 passengers had blood (in ears and nose) and the rest were suffocating, putting the travelers in death-bed situation and condition,” said Mr Patel.
He alleged that this amounts to ‘attempted murder’ of all the 166 passengers on-board and the airline and its crew must be booked under the relevant Indian Penal Code sections.
In an unprecedented development in Indian aviation history, at least 30 passengers of the early Thursday morning Jet Airways flight suffered nasal and ear bleeding due to low cabin pressure after the cockpit crew reportedly failed to activate what is called a ‘bleed switch’ before take-off.
This led to an imbalance in the cabin pressure and oxygen masks were deployed with which most passengers breathed.
Taking serious cognizance of the incident, the government ordered a safety audit plan for the entire aviation industry to be submitted by Director General of Civil Aviation within 30 days, while Jet Airways derostered the cockpit crew pending investigations.
Though the incident was first of its kind in Indian skies, there have been a few similar ones with disastrous consequences elsewhere in the world.
In August 2005, a Helios Airways flight from Cyprus to Athens had suffered a loss in cabin pressure which immobilized the crew, the plane flew on autopilot till the fuel ran out and it crashed, killed all 121 passengers and the crew on board.
A similar incident was recorded in April 1988, when an Aloha Airlines flight between Hili and Honolulu in Hawaii Islands suffered huge damage after an explosive decompression, but managed to land safely at Kahului Airport in Maui.
However, one flight attendant Clarabelle Lansing was killed after getting ejected from the aircraft.