NEROCA FC players and their coach travelling on an aircraft had a close shave but escaped unhurt when the flight was hit by thunder and caught fire during their journey to Coimbatore on Friday.
NEROCA booked Indigo flight 6E 905, which took off from Guwahati Airport at 7.05 am on Friday. The sky was clear for the first one and half hour and as the plane approached the southern coast, clouds started to hover. The southern state of Tamil Nadu has been witnessing rain for the past couple of days because of Cyclone Gaja and there was a forecast of rain, along with thunderstorm, on Friday morning.
The flight was caught between the thunderstorm and rain, much to fear of the passengers. But the team and the rest of the crew reached Coimbatore safely, where they are scheduled to take on Chennai City FC in an I-League match on Saturday.
When Sportskeeda contacted NEROCA coach Manuel Retamero Fraile, he said, “There was a thunder that hit on our plane. We got very scared. I saw fire coming out of somewhere from my window. But the Pilot handled the situation calmly.
"He told us not to panic and added that everything will be okay after a few minutes. We were still worried.
"When we landed in the airport, I saw a crack on the aeroplane just below the window where I was sitting. It got me scared more but thankfully nothing happened to any of us.”
All the passengers started screaming once the plane caught fire. But the situation was under control after a few moments and Retamero thanked the pilot for doing a commendable job. “Immediately after we heard the thunder, the airplane was moving downwards and that scared us more. But the pilot came to us and said there is nothing to be worried.
"We are lucky because we escaped without an injury. We are lucky because the lightning didn’t hit the engine, otherwise the engine would’ve caught by fire.
"Some of us are still afraid and we only hope everything will be fine when we get on to the field. Thanks to the pilot for doing a beautiful job.”
NEROCA will be playing league leaders Chennai City at Coimbatore on Saturday at 5 PM. They are standing at the sixth position on the league table with five points from four matches.Published 23 Nov 2018, 15:29 IST