Man dies after being sucked into jet engine in India

The co-pilot reportedly mistook a signal from ground staff

Air India, Mumbai Airport, accident, engine, worker, Ravi Subramanian

In this file photo, Air India planes are parked on the tarmac at the Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India | Image: Kevin Frayer / AP/Press Association Images

A man working for Air India has died after being sucked into a jet engine after a "mishap".

The freak accident happened as the plane pushed back for take-off at Mumbai Airport, the airline said.

It reportedly happened after the co-pilot of flight Al-619 to the southern city of Hyderabad mistook a signal from ground staff and started the engine.

Maintenance man Ravi Subramanian, who was standing close by, was sucked into the engine and died instantly.

India's national carrier said on Twitter that he had "died in a mishap during pushback of flight AI 619".

The airline sent its "heartfelt condolences" to the man's family and its boss, Ashwani Lohani, said he was "deeply saddened".

A source told the Hindustan Times: "At the moment, we are absolutely clueless on how this person was near the aircraft".

"Only an inquiry can establish whose negligence it was and whether the engine should have been switched on at that time".

The state-run carrier, which has not reported an annual profit since 2007, has been troubled recently by a number of technical glitches and other awkward incidents, including staff turning up late for flights.

The airline made headlines in April when it was forced to ground two of its pilots after the pair started to fight just before take off.

The latest incident comes a week after a turboprop plane owned by budget carrier SpiceJet skidded as it hit a group of wild boars as it came into land at Jabalpur airport in central India.