JetLite airliner crashlands at Varanasi; all passengers safe

A major domestic aviation disaster was avoided, thanks to some quick thinking by the pilot of JetLite flight S2-115 from Patna to Delhi via Varanasi.

The plane carrying 71 passengers crash-landed at Lal Bahadur Shastri airport at Babatpur in Varanasi on Sunday at around 4 pm after its front wheel tyre burst while landing, owing to a "hydraulic system failure". All the passengers were evacuated safely

Thanks to some quick thinking by the pilot, who immediately applied the emergency brakes, the crash landing resulted in only minor injuries to some of the passengers. The injuries were caused when there was a sudden jerk in the movement of the plane caused by the emergency brakes, which caused lights and some other fixtures inside the plane to snap off and fall on passengers, causing injuries.

Incidentally, a group of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leaders, including union Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, his brothers-in-law Sadhu and Subhash Yadav, union minister Kanti Singh, and A M S Fatmi, were to board the flight in Varanasi on their way to New Delhi.

The accident caused a commotion at the airport. The runway was blocked for some time, disrupting the schedule of other flights, he said. A Spice Jet plane was diverted to Delhi, while a few Indian Airlines flights were cancelled.

JetLite general manager Aniruddha Singh refused to answer reporters'' questions about the accident, saying there would be an official investigation by aviation authorities.