Herculean efforts on at Mumbai to move stuck aircraft

September 3rd, 2011 - 10:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Sep 3 (IANS) Indian authorities Saturday launched massive efforts to retrieve the Turkish Airlines Airbus aircraft which has been stuck in mud off Mumbai airport’s main runway, leading to its closure for over 40 hours.

According to officials, nearly 200 labourers guided by 34 engineers from engineering firm Larsen & Toubro, Mumbai International Airport Limited and Turkish Airlines are working round the clock under the supervision of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

As many as 50 big and small machines, including cranes, trucks, JCBs and other equipment have been deployed.

“Since yesterday (Friday), after the disabled aircraft was defueled and emptied of all cargo, 70 truckloads of solid material and milling material were used to create a temporary solid pathway, 20 feet wide and 40 feet long. It was used to remove the aircraft’s fuel and cargo, and will now be used to tow back the aircraft to a designated spot,? the official told IANS.

So far, more than 100 truckloads of mud and slush below and around the aircraft have been extricated to enable the gangs of workmen move the aircraft on the solid pathway.

As per indications at 8 p.m., the work is expected to be completed in the next few hours, the official said.

However, stormy weather conditions continued to hamper the work, the official added.

Following the incident early Friday when the Turkish Airlines aircraft skidded after landing and got stuck in the soft mud following heavy rains, the main runway has been shut and the secondary runway is being used for all flight operations.

In the past 40 hours, over a dozen flights have been diverted, at least three cancelled and regular delays of around an hour plague all arrivals and departures.

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