The incident took place at around 12.05 pm.
Kolkata: Around 20 air-passengers were injured while trying to escape after a smoke billowed out of the auxiliary power unit (APU) of a Bhutan Airlines aircraft soon before its take-off from the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (NSCBI) on Saturday afternoon.
The 20 passengers injured got hurt while evacuating the aircraft and carry no burn injuries.
Responding to what could have been a major disaster, a team of a dozen Indian Coast Guard (ICG) personnel rushed to the scene and evacuated the passengers within half-an-hour.
Shockingly an Airport Authority of India (AAI) reached the spot with support 25 minutes later, according to the ICG. The incident took place at around 12.05 pm.
Commanding Officer of the ICG's air squadron, which is based with a hangar at the NSCBI airport, commandant K R Arun was on a surprise round. He was discussing in the hangar along with SDO, deputy commandant Pankaj Mishra.
Suddenly they found a smoke coming out of from the Bhutan Airlines (A5-BAB) airbus. All the emergency chutes were deployed from the aircraft.
Preliminary investigation revealed that a smoke broke out due to a suspected short circuit in the auxiliary power unit, which supplies additional power, of the aircraft, sources said.
The airbus, carrying around 120 passengers including many foreigners, was on a taxiway barely 150 meters away from the ICG hangar.
Narrating the scene Mr Mishra said, "The passengers and the aircrew were in a state of panic deplaning through the emergency escape slides/chutes. The commanding officer alongwith his skeleton team rushed to the spot. All passengers seemed to be left unattended and the airhostesses along with the the pilots were seeking immediate assistance."
Flight operations were stopped at the airport soon.
Giving details of the rescue and humanitarian assistance operation Mr Mishra elaborated, "Our duty team along with unit ambulance were the first agency to rush to the scene of incident. We immediately interacted with the Bhutan Airlines aircrew and passengers. Immediate humanitarian assistance and support was provided to the passengers when they were in panic."
He added, "All the passengers were guided to a safe apron area. Medical assistance and first-aid were given to around 20 passengers who suffered bruises, cuts, rash, wounds and sprain prior arrival of any other medical assistance. Around 50 passengers were provided water and biscuits. Around 25 minutes after the incident the support team of the AAI reached the site and took over formalities of the passengers' evacuation and further necessary clearances."
Mr Mishra said, "All foreign/Indian passengers, AAI staff, Airport deputy director, CISF and allied agencies praised the ICG's timely and proactive assistance."