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Pax face 10-hour delay as rat-catchers hunt prey

August 30, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The B777, nearly full with 206 passengers, was taxiing on the runway preparing for a long-haul, intercontinental flight. Then someone spotted a rat.

Crew immediately stopped the plane, an Air India flight from Delhi to San Francisco, and returned to the gate to summon ratters and fumigators.  The rat delayed the flight by several hours on Sunday, according to the Times of India.

After hunting the rat, the airline fumigated the plane, which took six hours, during which the flight crew unsurprisingly “ran out of hours”. A new pilot and crew were brought in and the flight finally took off at noon, nearly 10 hours late.

It’s not the first incident involving Air India and rats. Early last year, a London-bound Air India flight carrying 240 passengers turned back to Mumbai after a rat was sighted aboard. That rat made itself scarce and was never found.

As well as being a health hazard, rats can cause safety concerns if they chew through electrical wires.

In August 2015, Air India grounded one of its A321s, reportedly because several dozen rats were scurrying around the cabin. That flight originated in Kolkata. On landing in New Delhi, passengers departed in a hurry, the aircraft was taken out of service and exterminators were called in.

“The most common way for rats to get on board an aircraft is through catering vans,” the Times of India observed, disconcertingly, on that occasion.

Written by Peter Needham

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