Mumbai: Airport authorities on Saturday defended
the decision to open chutes on the side of the fire in the Air
India plane here yesterday, saying it was done to ensure
ventilation in the aircraft.
The clarification by Mumbai International Airport
Limited (MIAL) came in the wake of criticism of the decision
to open the chutes on the side of the fire exposing the
passengers to hazard.
A MIAL spokesperson said the passengers were evacuated
from the chutes on the other side of the Boeing 747-400
aircraft as per the standard practice.
"Chutes on the left side of the aircraft, where the fire
occurred were opened by the firemen only after the evacuation
process was fully completed to ensure ventilation and no
passenger was trapped inside," the spokesperson told PTI here.
When fire was extinguished, two of the firemen went
inside the aircraft to check if there was any person trapped
inside, he said, adding jet fuel smoke and fume were noticed
in the aircraft.
"They opened the left chutes to ensure ventilation in the
aircraft," he said.
Air India had yesterday said that it was not correct to
say that chutes on the side of fire were opened to evacuate
the passengers against the standard practices.