NEW DELHI, June 8 (Xinhua) -- India's flag carrier Air India said the replacement flight that it sent to ferry stranded passengers and crew in Russia's Magadan airport Thursday took off for San Francisco in the United States.
A Delhi-San Francisco flight of Air India with 216 passengers and 16 crew members on board was forced to land at Magadan airport in Russia's the Far East on Tuesday after one of its engines developed a snag. The passengers and crew were stranded at the airport.
"Air India flight AI173D takes off for San Francisco from Magadan," Air India said in a statement. "Flight AI173D from Magadan, Russia (GDX) is now airborne for San Francisco (SFO), carrying all passengers and crew. The flight departed GDX at 10:27 local time on June 8 and is expected to arrive at SFO at 00:15 local time on June 8."
The ferry flight that took off from Mumbai on Wednesday carried food and other essentials for the stranded passengers.
"Air India has mobilized additional on-ground support at SFO to carry out the clearance formalities for all passengers upon arrival. The team at SFO is prepared to provide all necessary assistance to the passengers, including but not limited to medical care, ground transportation and onward connections in applicable cases," the airline said.
Air India has not provided details of the technical snag that forced its flight to land in Magadan. With no staff in Magadan or in Russia, Air India said the ground support to the passengers was provided through liaison with India's foreign ministry officials in Vladivostok, local ground handlers and the Russian authorities.
The stranded passengers of the flight, including children and the elderly, found themselves battling language barriers, unfamiliar food and substandard accommodation in Magadan, a New Delhi-based TV channel said. ■