The extended delay of an IndiGo Delhi-Goa flight Sunday triggered shocking scenes of physical violence aboard the Airbus A20N parked at the Indira Gandhi International Airport for over 10 hours. An enraged passenger – identified as Sahil Kataria – ran up to the Anup Kumar, the flight’s co-captain, and assaulted him, leaping across a food service trolley that was supposed to be a barrier between Mr Kumar and the passengers, to hit him at least once before he was dragged off by a fellow passenger.
The incident was filmed by a third passenger as s/he was recording the captain, who was announcing a further delay in departure. Reports indicate Mr Kataraia – who is now in Delhi Police’s custody – came charging up from his seat in the last row, raising additional questions about safety on board planes.
A passenger punched an Indigo capt in the aircraft as he was making delay announcement. The guy ran up from the last row and punched the new Capt who replaced the previous crew who crossed FDTL. Unbelievable ! @DGCAIndia@MoCA_GoIpic.twitter.com/SkdlpWbaDd
— Capt_Ck (@Capt_Ck) January 14, 2024
The disturbing video of the assault – widely shared online – also shows IndiGo crew rushing to help Mr Kumar, and members of the cabin crew hysterically remonstrating with Mr Kataria, telling him (in Hindi), “You can’t do this… you can’t do this!”. To this he responds, “Why can’t I do this? Why can’t I?”
Mr Kataria then shouted, “Chalana hai to chala, nahi to khol gate… (If you’re going to fly, then fly… otherwise open the gate).” Another person can be heard, “We have been stuck here for hours.”
It is unclear how long the passengers had been kept inside the plane.
What Happened Aboard IndiGo Flight 6E2175?
The sequence of events leading up to the assault is not yet clear but this is what we know so far.
The Airbus A20N – a short-medium range single aisle jet based on the company’s popular A-320 model – was scheduled to depart Delhi at 7.40 am. However, adverse weather conditions, including dense fog, at the IGI Airport meant this flight, as well as dozens of others, had been significantly delayed.
Indeed, weather conditions in and around the national capital region have been poor for several days, with a cold wave and heavy fog leading to multiple delays, cancellations, and diversions daily.
This morning, for example, at least 168 flights were delayed and nearly 100 cancelled.
According to tracking website FlightAware, the IndiGo plane in question finally took off at 5.33 pm – a delay of nearly 10 hours. The flight to the Goa International Airport at Dabolim was of normal duration, with the plane landing at 7.58 pm, a flight time of 145 minutes, or around two-and-a-half hours.
What Happened To Sahil Kataria?
After being dragged off the captain, Mr Kataria was taken into custody by the authorities.
A police case under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code has been registered, including ‘voluntarily causing hurt’ and Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which allows police to execute arrests without a warrant. All sections charged are bailable, sources have told NDTV.
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