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Five school students, who were partying on the terrace of a house in South Delhi last weekend, apparently helped save over 350 lives when they saw flames coming out of the engine of an aircraft that had just taken off and alerted the police.
Their swift action followed by the urgent response of the police led the Air Traffic Control (ATC) to clear the runway for the New York-bound Air India plane to return to base and land safely under emergency conditions on last Saturday, police said on Friday.
Air India officials said the pilots had noticed the flames soon after take-off and had already sought permission for an emergency landing from the ATC. All those on board were safe.
They said the boys could have noticed the plane when it was returning to land. Air India's Boeing 777 (Long Range) plane, with 339 passengers and 16 crew on board, was operating as flight AI-101 from New Delhi to New York.
It took off around 0130 hours on the intervening night of July 16 and 17 as per schedule. Soon after take off, the right engine developed technical trouble, prompting the pilots to immediately turn around.
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