By ASHOK SHARMA
NEW DELHI (AP) — A replacement plane for an Air India flight diverted to Russia because of an engine problem has left for San Francisco, carrying all passengers and crew.
The original Boeing 777, which left New Delhi carrying 216 passengers and 16 crew members, landed at Magadan airport in Siberia in Russia’s far east on Tuesday. The plane had “developed a technical issue with one of its engines,” Air India said.
The replacement plane is expected to arrive in San Francisco at 12:15 a.m. Thursday local time, the airline said in a statement.
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said fewer than 50 American citizens were on the plane and the department was not aware of any of them reaching out to the U.S. Embassy in Russia or other diplomatic posts.
Passenger Girvaan Singh Kahma, 16, who was traveling with his uncle and brother, said they were barred from leaving the hostel in Magadan and were unable to use their credit cards because of sanctions over Russia’s war on Ukraine.
“The first day and a half was really hard for all of us,” he said. “The weather went to 3 to 4 degrees (Celsius) in the morning, and in the night it was bitter cold,” he said, adding that it was getting better with food and a place to sleep.
“The Russian soldiers, the Russian police, the authorities, everyone working in the hostel has been treating us extremely well,” he said.