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Air India Sends Plane After US-Bound Jet Stops in Russia

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Air India has sent a relief airplane after a jet from New Delhi to San Francisco had to land in eastern Russia with an engine problem, the airline said Wednesday. online news

The flight with 216 passengers and 16 crew was diverted to Magadan on Russia’s eastern coast, over 5,900 kilometres (3,670 miles) from Moscow, on Tuesday night.

With “infrastructural limitations around the remote airport”, passengers were put up in “makeshift accommodation” in the town, Air India said in a statement.

Air India said that the replacement airplane took off from Mumbai. It was expected to arrive at 6:30 am Thursday (1930 GMT Wednesday).

“The aircraft operating the ferry flight will take all passengers and crew onward to San Francisco”, it added.

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Up to 50 passengers were US citizens, the State Department said, but it did not report any issues, as tensions flare between Washington and Moscow over the Ukraine war.

“We’re not aware of any outreach from some of these American citizens to our embassy and consular officials in Russia,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters in Washington.

The State Department has warned US citizens to avoid all travel to Russia after a series of high-profile detentions including of basketball star Brittney Griner, who was swapped for a Russian arms dealer jailed in the United States, and of Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich.

India, despite warming relations with the United States, maintains historic ties with Russia and has refused to join Western efforts to isolate Moscow for invading Ukraine.

North American, European and Japanese carriers have refused to fly over Russia since the invasion but the Indian flagship carrier still does, shaving the time off flights between India and North America.

The chief executive of United Airlines, Scott Kirby, recently called for all flights that head to the United States to be banned from Russian airspace, warning of a crisis if the plane is forced to land for medical or mechanical emergencies and a prominent American is on board.


© Agence France-Presse. All rights are reserved.

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