‘We thought this was going to be the last day of our life’

“We thought it was going to be the last day of our life. I will never board a flight again in my life,” said 22-year-old Imamul Ansari, a passenger onboard the Spice Jet aircraft from Mumbai to Durgapur that encountered severe turbulence due to “bad weather conditions” on Sunday evening that left several passengers and cabin crew injured.

Incidentally, it happened to be Ansari’s first-ever air travel. “It turned out to be a nightmare. This was my first flight experience, and it landed me in hospital,” said Ansari, a construction worker hailing from Jharkhand, who suffered a fracture in a right-hand finger and injuries in his back.

“I only remember that after three-four jolts my seat uprooted, and I was sitting on the surface with the seat. It was so frightening that I will never forget those scenes in my life,” Ansari told The Indian Express over the phone. Though Ansari has been released from the hospital, he is still in shock. The incident took place 15 minutes before the landing, said 39-year-old Mamata Dubey, a homemaker. “I sustained injuries in the neck, back and spine. We were in so much pain, and it took them at least an hour to get an ambulance to the airport. They said it was a small airport, so it got delayed,” said Mamata, a resident of Jamtara, who was travelling along with her two kids and husband Shashikant Dubey.

“An announcement was made that the flight will land in the next 20 minutes at 7.15 pm. The crew requested the passengers to fasten their seat belts. They also announced that the flight could encounter turbulence due to the bad weather and appealed to the passengers to remain seated. Soon after the announcement, the aircraft suddenly tilted leftward, and my wife fell off her seat. Then we felt another jolt. The intensity was such that my wife was thrown back to her seat and sustained injuries,” Shashikant told The Indian Express.

Their 12-year-old son Yash also received minor injuries. Their daughter Soumya, however, escaped unhurt. “I do not remember what happened to me at that moment. I was sitting on 25 B while my husband was sitting in the row behind me. I was given a wheelchair upon landing. By the grace of God, we were saved,” added Mamata.

However, a statement issued by Spice Jet has blamed it on the bad weather: “Flight encountered severe turbulence which unfortunately resulted in injuries to a few passengers. Immediate medical assistance was provided upon arrival in Durgapur. SpiceJet expresses its regret at this unfortunate incident and is providing all possible medical help to the injured.”

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