A LIVE bat flying through the cabin forced a US-bound Air India flight to turn round and head back to Delhi.
Video shows it flapping over the heads of shocked passengers and crew on board the Boeing 777 around 30 minutes after take-off yesterday morning.
The flight captain decided to take the plane back to the original base, Business Today reported, after the presence of the bat was reported to the Air Traffic Control.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) officials told news agency ANI that the aircraft – AI-105 DEL-EWR – returned to Delhi after departure when the local standby emergency had been declared.
“On arrival, it was learnt that crew members saw a bat inside the cabin. Wildlife staff were called to catch and take away the bat. The aircraft landed safely at around 3:55 am, and later it was declared Aircraft on Grounded (AoG),” they said.
“The aircraft landed safely at around 3:55 am, and later it was declared Aircraft on Grounded.”
The plane reportedly underwent complete fumigation, after which the bat’s carcass was retrieved from the cabin.
A senior DGCA official said the bat was found dead in the business class area of the plane.
“The probable reason/cause may be loading vehicles like those for catering,” an Air India official said.
“All the time rats/bats come from their vehicle.”
The displaced passengers were soon shifted to another Air India plane, which landed in Newark at 11:35 am local time.
The country’s tally of infections now stands at 27,65 million and the death toll at 318,895, health ministry data showed on Friday.
Covid-19 is believed to have originated in bats, before being passed on through another animal, and then into humans.
This was the verdict of a study between the World Health Organisation and China, released in March this year.
It was believed the bat started its journey in Charlotte, flying into an overhead bin while our crews were doing overnight maintenance.