Panic and anxiety gripped passengers, mostly Nepali citizens, on board a SpiceJet flight that had to return to Delhi halfway from Kathmandu after fresh tremors in the Himalayan country on Sunday forced the airport to shut down.
SpiceJet flight SG041 took off from Delhi airport at 12.30 p.m. and was scheduled to land at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan airport at 2.40 p.m.
Most of the passengers were worried Nepalis eager to meet relatives and friends following the massive devastation in the country after Saturday’s temblor that has claimed over 2,130 lives.
Halfway through the flight, the captain’s voice crackled on the announcement system: “We are sorry we have to return because fresh tremors have been reported in Nepal. Kathmandu airport is shut and we are returning to Delhi.”
The report of fresh tremors led to panic among the on-board passengers.
Buddha, 25, looked despondent. “I have lost my wife, eight-year-old son and one-month-old daughter in the quake,” he told IANS on board the flight.
His house in a village near Kathmandu was flattened in the quake, killing his family. He learnt of his loss when he called up Kathmandu on Saturday evening. He had some hope in the news that his mother was alive.
“I don’t know what will happen now. I am going to Kathmandu to look for my mother. I heard she is alive, I want to find out where she is. Our house is totally smashed, I learnt,” Buddha said.
Satya Narayan, a 50-year-old Indian-origin Nepali citizen, said he was very worried about his daughter.
He had spoken to her on Saturday evening and was flying to Kathmandu to meet her.
The flight returning midway, disappointed him.
Narayan told IANS he had put in all his earnings into building his house in Nepal and was hoped it was still standing.
There was also Rubaika Sapkota who was worried about her family in Nepal, and hoped everyone was safe.
The passengers were waiting on board the aircraft, hoping there would be no more tremors and the flight would take off safely again.