An airport shuttle bus driver slept at the wheel as his vehicle hurtled out of control into the side of an aircraft, causing substantial and extensive damage.
The Jet Airways bus reportedly hit an aircraft belonging to Alliance Air, an Air India subsidiary, at India’s Kolkata airport yesterday morning. A photo shows the bus lodged against the aircraft fuselage and right-hand-side engine.
The plane appears to be either an ATR 42 or ATR 72, short-haul regional twin-engine turboprops that Alliance Air operates.
No one was hurt but damage was extensive. An initial report mentioned an estimated AUD 83.3 million worth of damage – but later reports said that figure was the cost of the aircraft.
According to NDTV in Kolkata, the bus driver, Momin Ali, had been on night duty.
“He has said that he had fallen asleep,” airport director AK Sharma said, adding that the driver had been questioned and medically examined.
Fortunately, the aircraft was empty at the time – as was the bus, apart from the sleeping driver.
Airport officials said the plane was parked while preparing to fly to Silchar in Assam.
The plane has been grounded, according to Air India officials, forcing the airline to cancel two flights to the northeast.
The aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation, has ordered a high-level probe into the incident, NDTV said.
Written by Peter Needham