An Air India passenger plane at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India on February 22. The airline sent a ferry to take passengers to San Francisco after the plane was supposed to be diverted to Russia on Wednesday. File photo by Divyakant Solanki/EPA-EFE
June 7 (UPI) — Technical problems forced an Air India flight from Delhi to San Francisco to a remote airport in Russia on Wednesday, where passengers and crew waited for a ferry flight to complete the trip, the carrier said.
Indian Water said in a Twitter post that it would send the ferry from Mumbai after making “necessary regulatory approvals” to deliver food and other essential items to passengers before taking them to their destination in San Francisco.
“All of us at Air India are concerned about the passengers and staff and are making every effort to ensure that the ferry is running as soon as possible and to ensure the health, safety and security of all of them while they wait,” the airline said.
Air India Flight 173, with 216 passengers on board, experienced technical problems with one of its engines but managed to land safely at an airport in the northeastern Russian port city of Magadan.
“Given the infrastructure constraints around the remote airport, we can confirm that all passengers were eventually shifted to temporary accommodation after making a sincere attempt to accommodate passengers in local hotels with the assistance of local authorities,” Air India said.
Indian State Department Deputy Spokesman Vedant Patel said they are closely monitoring the situation.
“It is likely that there were US citizens on the plane,” Patel said, but added that he could not confirm whether or how many.
Relations between the United States and Russia hit a new low after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year and Washington responded with aggressive economic sanctions against Moscow. Russia has also arrested high-profile US citizens during that time, including Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich. on March 29. He remains under arrest.