17 Jan 2024

Co-passenger Describes Events Leading to Assault on IndiGo Pilot Amid Flight Delay

New Delhi: A traveler aboard an IndiGo flight from Delhi to Goa, where a passenger assaulted the captain following significant delays, shared a firsthand account of the incident on Monday.

Sanal Vij, posting on his X account, clarified that while he does not endorse violence, he felt compelled to share his experience to expose IndiGo's mismanagement, which he believes the airline concealed by focusing on the passenger's actions.

Vij recounted the ordeal on flight 6E2175, originally scheduled for a 7:40 AM departure but eventually taking off at 5:35 PM after numerous delays.

"As a co-passenger, I feel compelled to share my first-hand account of the incident. Before I proceed, it's crucial to clarify that I do not support violence. I intend to share my experience and shed light on the events," he wrote.

"Boarding commenced around 12:20 PM (after a delay of 5 hours due to bad weather) with approximately 186 passengers, including infants, young children, and elderly individuals. Despite completing boarding by 12:40 PM (approx), the flight doors remained open till 2:50 PM, with ground staff attributing the delay to ATC (air traffic control) not clearing the flight because of the congestion," Mr. Vij said.

He said the pilot made the announcement at 1:30 PM, claiming they were waiting for a crew member and the flight would depart shortly. Vij asserted that ground staff and crew provided misinformation, and crew members were observed being unprofessional, engaging in lengthy conversations instead of addressing passenger concerns.

The incident raises questions about the handling of the situation by IndiGo. Shouldn't authorities investigate the unprofessional conduct and ensure such mismanagement doesn't recur? Vij wrote.

Man Arrested for Assaulting IndiGo Flight Captain

Sahil Kataria, the assailant, was arrested and released on bail shortly afterward. In a video captured during the Delhi to Goa flight on Sunday, Kataria was seen attacking Anup Kumar, the flight's co-captain.

"Chalana hai chala, nahi chalana mat chala, khol gate (fly if you want to, otherwise open the door)," he can be heard shouting at the pilot before being restrained by another passenger.

IndiGo's Official Statement

IndiGo released an official statement declaring the passenger "unruly" and considering inclusion in the no-fly list. The airline emphasized its commitment to passenger and crew safety and zero tolerance for unacceptable behavior.

"In an official statement, IndiGo said the passenger had been declared 'unruly' and the airline was considering including him in the no-fly list."

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