A Delhi-bound flight carrying 185 passengers landed safely in Patna after catching fire mid-air. The lives of those on board were saved thanks to the quick action of the experienced pilots of the airline.

A senior SpiceJet official lauded the pilots of the airline’s Patna-Delhi flight, which was hit by a bird strike leading to an engine failure.

“Captain Monika Khanna and first officer Balpreet Singh Bhatia conducted themselves well during the incident. They were calm throughout, and handled the aircraft well. They are experienced officers and we’re proud of them,” news agency ANI quoted Gurcharan Arora, SpiceJet’s chief of flight operations, as saying.

Also Read | Watch| Delhi-bound SpiceJet flight lands safely in Patna, smoke visible

Describing the incident, Arora further said, “Only a single engine was functioning when the plane landed back. Engineers inspected the aircraft, and confirmed that a fan blade and engine were damaged as a bird hit. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will probe further.”

As many as 185 passengers were onboard flight SG723, which took off for the Indira Gandhi International Airport from the Jayprakash Narayan International Airport, around 12noon. However, shortly after the take-off, the plane encountered a bird hit.

The dramatic moment of the plane catching fire was recorded by onlookers from the ground.

Sharing the details of what happened during and after the bird hit, the official said, “there was a normal take-off. They heard a little thud on the left side. The little thud means normally suspicious, but there was no cockpit indication. Shortly after that they got a call from the ATC saying they have detected smoke and flames from the left engine (engine number 1).”

Also Read | Patna-Delhi SpiceJet flight makes emergency landing after engine catches fire

Some passengers told NDTV that they felt tremors inside the plane soon after the take-off and the lights started turning off.

“We raised an alarm. The crew members then told us that an emergency landing was being made,” one of the passengers said.