Asia

Air India flight turns back after rat spotted on board

  • 31 December 2015
  • From the section Asia
An Air India plane parked on airport tarmac Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The national airline has recently purchased some ultra-modern aircraft, like this one - not thought to be the affected plane

A plane travelling from Mumbai to London was forced to turn back mid-flight after a rat was spotted on board, local media report.

Flight AI 131 travelling to London on Wednesday was flying over Iran when someone on board said they spotted the rodent, reports said.

Passengers continued their journey on a replacement aircraft some time later.

Air India has said that the plane will be fumigated and the presence of a rodent was being investigated.

Rats occasionally get on board aircraft along with catering and other supplies but can pose a serious technical as well as a health hazard if they chew through wires.

The airline said that "though the presence of the rodent was not confirmed," the decision to abort the flight was precautionary and in the interests of passenger safety.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A happier landing: in 2013 an Air India plane was Australia's first Dreamliner passenger flight, where it was given a water cannon salute

It is not the first time a rat sighting has been reported on an Air India jet this year, with one of their aircraft forced to return to New Delhi during a flight to Milan in July because of a rodent.

It is the latest setback to hit the state-owned airline, which has had to cut costs to improve its financial health.

Earlier in December, an Air India technician was sucked into an aircraft engine and killed at Mumbai airport.

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