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Gale hits NCR; 9 killed, 24 flights diverted

At least nine people were killed in the National Capital Region, including six in Delhi, as a massive thunderstorm lashed the region. Operations at Indira Gandhi International Airport here were affected as flying debris damaged five aircraft and forced the diversion of 24 planes to nearby destinations.

Delhi Police said six people died and 13 were injured in various areas of the city in accidents like felling of trees, collapse of walls and electrocution following the storm, which was accompanied by winds at a speed of 90 kmph, according to Met department officials.

Five aircraft – two of SpiceJet, one each of Air India, GoAir and BlueDart – suffered damage after they were hit by flying objects, airport sources said, adding a portion of the roof of Terminal 1D was also blown away. They said there was no injury to any passenger or airline staff.

As the gale hit the airport, some flying objects hit an Air India plane, a Boeing 777, parked at the remote bay, sources said.

The wing tip of the aircraft suffered damage after it was hit by some flying objects carried by the winds. However, airline officials said the damage was minor and the plane would be ready for operations after small repair work.

Two SpiceJet planes – Boeing 737s – parked at the airport’s parking bay suffered damage. One of the planes was hit by a stepladder, kept near the aircraft and another by some flying debris, airport sources said, adding a freight plane of a private courier company, BlueDart, and a GoAir aircraft were also damaged. The airline operators were assessing the extent of damage, they added.

The strong wind forced the planes coming to Delhi to be diverted to Jaipur, Chandigarh and Lucknow, while some were asked to take go-around.

Road traffic, Metro hit
Thousands of people were stranded outside Metro stations and on roads as traffic almost came to a halt due to the storm. Metro train services were disrupted on almost all lines for about an hour due to power failure.

Around 24 inbound flights were diverted, including four of the Jet Airways. According to airport sources, a portion of the roof of the Terminal 1D, from where all the low cost carriers operate, was blown away in the stong wind. Eleven Delhi-bound flights were diverted to Sanganer airport in Jaipur.

Road traffic, Metro hit
Thousands of people were stranded outside Metro stations and on roads as traffic almost came to a halt due to the storm. Metro train services were disrupted on almost all lines for about an hour due to power failure.

Power outages
Major power lines were damaged in the storm crippling electricity supply. Power department officials said electricity network was disrupted as the storm uprooted trees snapping power lines in several areas. Areas in South, East and North Delhi faced long power cuts, ranging from one to four hours.

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