Johannesburg, South Africa: A South African man is among the passengers on stricken Air India flight MUM841 after he boarded the wrong plane at Cape Town International Airport this morning.
Dave Luis was due to land in Johannesburg at 08:05 this morning on Mango Airlines flight JE134, but boarded an Air India flight bound for Mumbai instead.
An Airports Company South Africa representative says officials are still investigating how a passenger that checked in for a domestic flight managed to board an international flight despite rigorous access controls prohibiting passengers from moving beyond their designated boarding areas.
Shortly after the flight passed over Johannesburg airspace Captain Jaiwala Khan radioed air traffic control informing them of a passenger incident, after Mr. Luis reportedly became panicked after being informed by cabin crew of the flight’s ultimate destination.
In another digression from standard procedure, the Air India flight continued on to Mumbai, instead of returning to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg to insist the passenger disembark. As Mr. Luis was not carrying an Indian visa, it is assumed he would be returned to South Africa once the plane had touched down in Mumbai.
Air India flight MUM841, carrying 436 passengers and crew, was reported missing after ground control lost contact with the flight over the Indian Ocean. The last reported signal was received at 09:35 local time by air control on Réunion Island.
Wreckage and bodies have been spotted floating in the Indian Ocean some 480 kilometres from Réunion Island. Clear markings confirm the wreckage as pieces of the Boeing 747-400 fuselage from flight MUM841. Recovery crews from South Africa and India have been dispatched to the area.
In a frightening premonition of the incident, Mr. Luis tweeted shortly before take off that he had mistakenly taken another passenger’s seat, as it was too early in the morning to read seat numbers and that he hoped he was on the correct flight.
Eagle-eyed tweeters have also picked up that the photograph taken by Mr. Luis shows Mango airlines insignia, indicating that Mr. Luis had initially boarded the correct flight. It is not known at this point how he managed to disembark and board the Air India flight.
Our thoughts and condolences to friends and family of the passengers and crew of flight MUM841.
BBC World Service 2015.
© Dave Luis 2015. All Rights Reserved.
‘Mumbai’ is a creative writing exercise and the fourth installment in the third series of tandem blogs written by nine bloggers. Please click on Megan, Brett, Kerry, Catherine, Sarah, Scott, Nick and James‘ names to link to their blogs and read what they have written on the topic of ‘Mumbai’.