Flight Turns Back After Passengers Spot Rat
Rodent, stray dog, catering van made it a bad day for Air India
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 31, 2015 2:00 AM CST
Passenger jets from Air India, India's national carrier, stand at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.   (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer, File)

(Newser) – An Air India plane flying to London was forced to return to Mumbai after passengers spotted a rat on board, the airline said Thursday. Though the rat wasn't found, the pilot headed back to Mumbai on Wednesday keeping passenger safety in mind, Air India said in a statement. Passengers were later flown by a separate aircraft to London. The aircraft will be fumigated, checked, and certified rodent-free before it's returned to service. Maintenance workers will have to make sure that the rat didn't damage equipment or chew any wires, an airline official says.

Air India had two other mishaps the same day: A pilot aborted takeoff from a northern Indian city after a stray dog ran onto the runway as the plane was taxiing. An official at the airport in Amritsar said the pilot spotted the dog running into the path of the plane's front wheels. He applied the emergency brakes and returned the aircraft to its parking bay. In the other incident, an Air India plane from Mumbai was hit by a catering van at the Newark, NJ, airport. (Earlier this month, an Air India employee in Mumbai died after being sucked into an airplane engine.)