Fuel Leak Scare Delays Big B Flight


Kolkata: An alert by a flier who suspected a fuel leakage in a Mumbai-bound aircraft that also had actor Amitabh Bachchan on board forced the plane to turn back from the taxi track at Kolkata airport on Saturday morning. Checks, however, revealed it was a false alarm as it turned out to be water.

Jet Airways flight 9W-472 started rolling soon after the cabin crew shut the aircraft door following the megastar’s entry. Bachchan, who was the last passenger to board the flight, had just settled into the 3S window seat (business class) when the plane began pushback for the scheduled take-off at 9.15am.

Even as he looked out of the window at the airport terminal steel and glass superstructure, a passenger several rows behind noticed a steady drip from the wing that left a trail on the tarmac. Alarmed that it could be fuel leakage, she drew the attention of the crew that was at the time wrapping up the mandatory pre-flight safety instructions.

The crew then informed the pilot. Though no alarms had gone off in the panel of switches in the cockpit, the captain took the decision to turn the aircraft around and head back for inspection.

“The plane was taxiing smoothly when the flight captain radioed the request to return to the bay. We were all aware Amitabh Bachchan was on the flight. When the plane returned, ground staff craned their neck to see if he was visible through the window,” said an airport staff.

At the bay, engineers found the droplets to be water that had condensed from the aircraft’s air-conditioning unit. “Water had accumulated in the duck when it was parked at the airport and was getting drained as usual. There was no snag in the plane. After the go-ahead, the plane set off for Mumbai at 10.20 pm, more than an hour behind schedule,” an airline source said.