‘Don’t support violence but …’: Co-flyer on events that led to assault on IndiGo flight

NEW DELHI: A co-passenger onboard the IndiGo flight in which a passenger assaulted the co-pilot due to 13-hour long delay gave a first-hand account of the incident and criticized the airlines for “mismanagement”.
Sanal Vij, who was flying on Delhi-Goa flight (6E-2175), is the second such passenger to speak out about the incident after model-cum-actress Evgenia Belskaia accused the pilot of blaming the flyers and escalating the tension in the aircraft.
In a post on X, Sanal Vij said that though he does not support violence, the airline “took advantage” [of the incident] and hid all their mismanagement and mistakes behind what the passenger did.
“A series of news articles have covered the recent assault on an Indigo Flight 6E2175 pilot on January 14. As a co-passenger, I feel compelled to share my first-hand account of the incident. Before I proceed, it’s crucial to clarify that I do not support violence. I intend to share my experience and shed light on the events,” he posted.
“Flight 6E2175 was scheduled for take-off at 7.40am but faced multiple delays, eventually departing at 5.35pm. Boarding commenced around 12.20pm (after a delay of five hours due to bad weather) with approximately 186 passengers, including infants, children, and elderly individuals,” he wrote.
He added that at 1.30pm, the pilot announced they were waiting for a crew member, assuring that the flight would depart shortly.
“It became evident that ground staff and crew had misinformed us. The crew members were observed being unprofessional, engaging in lengthy conversations with ground staff, as evidenced by plane recordings. Multiple requests from elderly passengers for water were ignored, and the crew members seemed preoccupied with their own conversations,” said Vij in the post.
He said that the delayed crew member arrived at around 2.40pm and the plane doors closed.
“However, the plane did not push back for some time, leading to passenger enquiries and a verbal altercation with crew members. Around 3.20pm, the assistant Captain was addressing the passengers on the delay when the assault occurred,” he said.
While the passenger said that violence should not be accepted, he also lashed out at the airline for showing unprofessionalism and forcing 185 people to wait without food for hours.
He said that food was finally provided to the passengers after 4pm.
“Violence is unacceptable, but what about Indigo’s mismanagement, unprofessionalism, and 185 passengers being stranded without food for hours? The food was provided to us after 4pm after being locked in the plane for several hours. The incident raises questions about the handling of the situation by Indigo. Shouldn’t authorities investigate the unprofessional conduct and ensure such mismanagement doesn’t recur?” Vij said.
Earlier, Belskaia, who had filmed the incident, claimed that the pilot was “blaming” the passengers for asking questions instead of being “understanding and supportive”.
She said the situation escalated after the pilot resorted to counter-accusation and blamed the passengers for adding to the delay by arguing and questioning.
The IndiGo passenger, identified as Sahil Kataria, was arrested after he assaulted the pilot while he was making an announcement inside the aircraft that the flight to Goa waiting to take off at Delhi was further delayed.
The incident, in which a woman flight attendant broke down and asked the passenger how he could be so aggressive, took place Sunday evening.
(With inputs from agencies)

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