High-speed winds travelling at 114 kmph kicked up a dust storm in the city, which brought down visibility at the Indira Gandhi International Airport to a mere 200 metres around 4.54 pm on Friday.
Five planes parked at the airport were damaged and authorities were forced to divert 25 flight to nearby destinations. One man was reported killed at the airport. Airport officials said a section of the roof at Terminal 1D was also blown away by the squall.
According to sources, a cleaning staff, Pradeep, was killed during the squall. Police hasn’t yet ascertained the exact cause of his death, and has sent his body for a post-mortem examination.
“We will look at CCTV footage to determine the cause of his death, but it is likely that he was crushed after a container fell on him. Another possibility is that he was cleaning the facade and he fell off,” a senior police officer said.
Airport officials said five aircraft — two SpiceJet and one each from Air India, GoAir and BlueDart — suffered damaged after they were hit by flying objects.
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Officials said maximum damage was sustained near the cockpit, while the step-ladders attached to the aircraft were also blown away by the high-speed winds.
Officials said around 10 flights were reported delayed due to the storm, though there was no rain recorded at the airport. Between 4 pm and 5 pm, the airport was forced to stop nearly all operations, officials said.