An Air India passenger plane at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India, on February 22. The airline was sending a ferry flight to carry passengers to San Francisco after a plane had to be diverted to Russia on Wednesday. File Photo by Divyakant Solanki/EPA-EFE
June 7 (UPI) -- Technical issues forced an Air India flight from Delhi to San Francisco to a remote airport in Russia on Wednesday, where passengers and crew awaiting a ferry flight that will allow them to complete the trip, the carrier said.
Air India said in a Twitter post it would send a ferry flight from Mumbai after completing "necessary regulatory clearances" to bring food and other essentials to passengers before carrying them to their destination in San Francisco.
"All of us at Air India are concerned about the passengers and staff and are making every effort possible to operate the ferry flight as soon as possible and to ensure the health, safety and security of all while they wait," the airline said.
Air India Flight 173, which was carrying 216 passengers, started having technical issues in one of the engines midflight but managed to land safely at an airport in the northeastern Russian port city of Magadan.
"Given the infrastructure limitations around the remote airport, we can confirm that all passengers were eventually moved to makeshift accommodation, after making sincere attempts to accommodate passengers in hotels locally with the help of local government authorities," Air India said.
U.S. State Department Deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said they are closely monitoring the situation.
"It was likely that there were U.S. citizens onboard the flight," Patel said but added he was unable to confirm if there is and how many.
Relations between the United States and Russia are at a new low since Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year and Washington responding aggressive economic sanctions against Moscow. Russia has also made high-profile arrests of U.S. citizens during that time, including Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich on March 29. He remains in custody.