Last Updated: January 18, 2023, 17:02 IST
A day after reports stated that BJP leader Tejasvi Surya accidentally opened the emergency exit of an Indigo flight last month, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Wednesday that the door was opened “by mistake” and the Bengaluru MP apologised for it.
“It’s important to look at the facts. The door was opened by him (Surya) by mistake when the flight was on the ground and after all checks, the flight was allowed to take off. He also apologised for the mistake,” Scindia said.
It’s important to look at the facts. The door was opened by him by mistake when the flight was on the ground and after all checks, the flight was allowed to take off. He also apologised for the mistake: Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia https://t.co/CWQufXixOk pic.twitter.com/2qkxzcsYiy— ANI (@ANI) January 18, 2023
The incident happened last month when Surya boarded the flight from Chennai airport. News18 has learnt that soon after the incident, Surya stood up and apologised to the passengers onboard because of the delay that was being caused due to the safety protocols and pressurisation checks that were being conducted.
This was also corroborated by the airline company, IndiGo, which issued a statement saying that “the passenger immediately apologised for their action”.
“As per the SOPs, the incident was logged and the aircraft underwent mandatory engineering check which led to a delay in the flight’s departure,” it added.
The incident happened on IndiGo aircraft 7339 (ATR) when it was about to take off from Chennai to head towards Tiruchirapalli. The air hostess, who was giving safety instructions to the passengers, was suddenly interrupted when two passengers — Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya and Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai who were onboard — told her that the emergency door had been inadvertently opened.
In an ATR, which is a small flight, the emergency door is at the front. While most seats have handles, the seats near the emergency exit do not have an armrest. Surya was lightly resting his hand on the door and after a while indicated to the air hostess that the door may have opened slightly, sources had told News18.
“She then began to take the safety precautions that are required since the lever had been pushed down unknowingly,” said a Tamil Nadu BJP leader who is in the know of the incident.
The Tamil Nadu BJP chief had accompanied Surya to address the BJYM Tamil Nadu state executive meeting in Tiruchirapalli on December 10. Surya is yet to put out a statement on the issue.
The opposition parties, meanwhile, jumped onto the allegation bandwagon, claiming that the “accidental” opening of the emergency door of the IndiGo flight by Tejasvi Surya was a huge mistake and put lives at risk.
The Congress questioned why the BJP was silent on the matter and “hid the incident for so long”. “Tejasvi Surya is an example of what will happen if children playing games are given the proprietorship. An act of children’s mischief by trying to open the emergency exit door of the plane has come to light. Why prank with the lives of passengers?” Karnataka Congress said.
AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala in a tweet said, “The BJP VIP Brats ! How dare the airline complain? Is it the norm for the BJP power elite? Did it compromise passenger safety? Ohhh! U can’t ask questions about BJP’s entitled VIP’s !”
The plane incident was first tweeted by Tamil Nadu’s electricity minister Senthil Balaji on December 29.
In his tweet in Tamil, the DMK minister makes the allegation that it was Surya who had put the lives of several IndiGo passengers at risk.
“On December 10th, the ‘photoshop’ party’s state president, as well as the youth wing’s national president, irresponsibly opened the emergency exit in a flight. As per the rules, all the passengers were de-boarded for checks. The safety of the passengers was compromised by this. The flight was delayed by three hours. Since their clan is habituated to writing apology letters, on that day, a letter was written and given. Why has the news media not taken it up?” said Balaji’s tweet.
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