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Air India to send replacement plane for passengers stranded in Russia


NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Air India said on Wednesday a reserve plane would take off from Mumbai on Wednesday for passengers whose flight on Tuesday was forced to land at an airport in Russia’s Far East because of engine trouble.

One of the airline’s Boeing 777 widebody aircraft developed a technical issue with one of its engines as it carried 216 passengers and 16 crew on a flight from Delhi to San Francisco.

The airline said its ferry flight would leave Mumbai at 0730 GMT and head to Magadan in Russia, carrying food and other essentials for the passengers stranded there.

Russian aviation authority Rosaviatsia had said that a reserve Air India plane was scheduled to land at 0300 GMT.

A stranded passenger named Gagan told Indian broadcaster NDTV that there were many U.S. citizens on the flight and that given the tensions between Russia and the United States, “there are a lot a nervous people here”.

Air India did not immediately respond to a request to share the nationalities of the passengers.

U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel said on Tuesday it is “likely” there are Americans onboard given its planned destination.

“We are aware of a U.S.-bound flight that had to make an emergency landing in Russia and are continuing to monitor that situation closely,” Patel said.

The airline said it had moved passengers to makeshift accommodations, citing infrastructure limitations around the airport.

(Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in New Delhi and Lidia Kelly in Melbourne, additional reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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