An Air India Ltd. plane carrying passengers and crew who had been diverted to Russia due to an emergency on a previous flight has landed in San Francisco, bringing a 56-hour journey from New Delhi to a close.
The relief flight, AI173D, landed at San Francisco International Airport at 12:07 a.m. local time, according to aircraft tracking website FlightRadar24. It was carrying 16 crew and 216 passengers, who had originally set off from India’s capital on Tuesday morning.
The original flight from Delhi to San Francisco diverted to the far east of Russia after experiencing trouble with one of its General Electric Co. engines. After landing in the port town of Magadan, passengers and crew were moved to makeshift accommodation for the night, “given the infrastructural limitations around the remote airport,” Air India said in a statement Wednesday.
A relief flight was sent from Mumbai to pick up the passengers and crew and take them on to the U.S. Images on social media showed passengers in a facility in Magadan with mattresses, blankets and luggage strewn on the floor.
It isn’t clear what will happen to the stricken Boeing Co. aircraft.
While Russian airspace is off limits to carriers from countries such as the U.S. due to sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine, Indian airlines have unrestricted access. That likely makes AI137D the first direct commercial passenger flight from Russia to the U.S. since the airspace ban was imposed. It was one of the most tracked aircraft on FlightRadar.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said fewer than 50 American citizens were on the plane and the department wasn’t aware of any of them reaching out to the U.S. Embassy in Russia or other diplomatic posts, the Associated Press reported.
Air India said it would provide assistance to passengers in San Francisco, including medical care, ground transport and onward connections.
(With assistance from Siddharth Philip)
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