Passenger Plane Forced Down With U.S. Citizens On Board

On Tuesday, an India Air flight from New Delhi to San Francisco with 216 passengers was forced to divert to Siberia after developing an engine problem, the Associated Press reported.

The Boeing 777 safely landed at Magadan Airport after one of the engines “developed a technical issue,” according to a statement from India Air.

Once on the ground, the flight underwent safety checks while the passengers were taken to a nearby hostel.

On Wednesday, India Air said that a replacement aircraft was on its way to Magadan Airport from Mumbai to take the passengers the rest of the way to San Francisco.

US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said that none of the fewer than 50 US citizens aboard the plane had contacted the US Embassy in Moscow or any other diplomatic posts.

According to one passenger aboard the flight, the passengers were taken to a hostel in Magadan and were not permitted to leave. He told the Associated Press that it was bitterly cold at night with the temperatures only rising to 3 or 4 degrees Celsius by the morning. 

The passengers were unable to use their credit cards due to the sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine. However, he told the AP that the workers at the hostel treated them “extremely well.”

The Associated Press reported that the replacement Air India plane arrived safely in San Francisco on Thursday with all 216 passengers and 16 crew members.

According to a statement from India Air, the initial flight diverted to Siberia after pilots received a low oil pressure indication in one of the engines. “Out of caution,” the pilots chose to land the plane at the closest airport rather than continue to San Francisco, the airline said.

The replacement plane touched down at San Francisco International Airport at 12:07 am local time, according to the Flight Aware website.

Passengers were informed that India Air would fully refund their fares. The airline will also provide passengers with vouchers for future travel.