An Air India engineer died after getting sucked into the engine of a plane that was scheduled to take off from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The deceased has been identified as 56-year-old Ravi Subramanian, who was a resident of Vashi –a node in Navi Mumbai.
"An Air India technician died in a mishap during pushback of flight AI 619," said Air India Chairman Ashwani Lohani, PTI reported.
"The flight was already boarded. It was ready for take-off. While it was pushing back to come on the airstrip, he (Subramanian) was working on the ground. His body got entangled in the engine," The Indian Express quoted Lohani as saying.
The incident occurred at bay 28 of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Domestic Airport at around 8:40 pm when the co-pilot of Mumbai-Hyderabad flight 619 "mistook a signal for starting the engine". Subramanian, who was standing close to the engine, got sucked into it and died.
"During the pusback, the co-pilot mistook a signal for engine start. As he switched on the engine, it sucked in the technician standing nearby," PTI quoted its sources as saying.
The operating procedure, however, states that the pilot needs clearance from maintenance engineer to start the engine, The Indian Express reported. The eyewitnesses reportedly said that the pilot started the engine before receiving the signal.
Lohani said that Air India has launched an investigation into the incident. "We are deeply saddened and regret the tragic incident at Mumbai airport this evening...The incident is being investigated. Our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family," Lohani added.
Besides, the local police and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation have also started independent investigations to find out if anyone was responsible for the mishap.
The Mumbai Police have registered a case of accidental death at the Sahar Police Station. "Prima facie evidence indicates a case of accidental death, no one appears to be at fault," said zonal DCP Virendra Mishra.