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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Surat buffalo delays Rajdhani now, even as airport chief shunted out

An angle lock between the engine and the first coach was found damaged. Following repairs, the Rajdhani went on its way.

What’s large, black, hairy and can slow/stop a train/plane? In an unusual, if morbid, coincidence, buffaloes in Surat have managed to run into giant transport machines twice in the space of six days.

Unfortunately, both animals died, and appear to have been disowned by their owners, who have not come forward to take responsibility or claim compensation so far. Fortunately, no human was hurt.

Around 7.40 pm on Monday, as the Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani Express neared Bhestan in Surat, a buffalo came in its path. The driver slowed down and dragged the carcass for about a kilometre to Udhna, where he reported the incident to Deputy Station Superintendent B M Maheria. The train was inspected and an angle lock between the engine and the first coach was found damaged. Following repairs, the Rajdhani went on its way.

On November 6, a stray buffalo on the runway at Surat airport had hit a SpiceJet aircraft seconds before take-off, causing greater damage, putting at risk 140 passengers, grounding the battered aircraft, and stopping indefinitely all SpiceJet flights from Surat.

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On Wednesday, responsibility for the accident was fixed: the Airports Authority of India transferred Surat airport director S D Sharma to Lilabari airport in North Lakhimpur, Assam.

The action followed a visit to the airport by a team led by the Director General of Civil Aviation (Western Region) A K Sharma, which found that not only had the boundary wall collapsed, even the temporary fencing was broken at several places, giving free passage to cattle to enter the airport.

Runway lights were insufficient too. Sharma himself said, “I know the reason for my transfer, but I have learnt a lot from my experience in Surat.”

First published on: 13-11-2014 at 02:49:17 am
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