242 stranded Indians return home from Brussels

RSTV Bureau
Mumbai: Afsha Rajkotwala (in orange) who was stranded at the Brussels airport following the bombing welcomed by her family at the international airport in Mumbai on Friday. PTI Photo

Mumbai: Afsha Rajkotwala (in orange) who was stranded at the Brussels airport following the bombing welcomed by her family at the international airport in Mumbai on Friday. PTI Photo

242 Indians including 28 crew members who were stranded after the terror attacks in Brussels returned home in a Jet Airways aircraft on Friday. The passengers had been stranded at the Brussles airport since the blasts on Tuesday.

The ‘recovery’ flight 9W 1229 from Amsterdam, which landed in Mumbai on Friday morning, also carried onboard the passengers who were bound for Mumbai as their flight was cancelled at the last minute due to a technical problem in the aircraft.

The airline had earlier taken all its stranded passengers in Brussels to the Dutch capital by road.

“The flight 9W 1229 carrying 214 passengers, including 69 bound for Mumbai, along with 28 Jet Airways crew members landed at IGI airport at 5.10 AM,” a Jet Airways spokesperson said.

“I was coming from Toronto and as soon as we arrived at the airport and went to the arrival bay, within 15 minutes they were asking us to evacuate as soon as possible. We had no idea what had happened,” a woman passenger narrated her ordeal after landing in Mumbai.

She said that there were hundreds of passengers running out with their baggages. “From there we found out that there were three blasts.”

“The blast occurred in the departure area of the airport as soon as our flight had landed. They took all of us out and we remained stranded there for quite some time,” said another passenger.

On Thursday Jet Airways operated two flights from Amsterdam for Toronto and Delhi after transporting all its stranded passengers in Brussels to the Dutch capital by road.

It had initially planned to fly three recovery flights from Amsterdam including one to Mumbai after pulling out all its four grounded aircraft from the Brussels airport.

However, it had to cancel the Mumbai flight at the last moment as the aircraft developed some problem, forcing the airline to combine the two flights into one.

The aircraft, which brought back the passengers to Delhi, was later flown to Mumbai with 69 passengers onboard, Jet Airways said.

“I was just landing when the blast took place. So, we could not get inside the airport (terminal building),” said another passenger.

“We were taken to some other place. We were taken care of very well,” he added.

Tuesday’s suicide attacks in Brussels left 31 dead and 300 wounded.

(With inputs from PTI)