Fears Russia will hold American citizens hostage after plane makes emergency landing in Russia’s Far East


An Air India plane flying from Delhi to San Francisco was forced to divert to an airport in Russia’s Far East after a technical issue, sparking concerns Americans on board could be held hostage.

The flight, believed to be carrying U.S. citizens, had to land at Sokol airport in the port town of Magadan in the far east of the country.

News of the U.S.-destined plane’s emergency landing in Russia initially sparked widespread fears that Russian officials could take U.S. citizens on board hostage — a response also prompted by the ongoing detention of American journalist Evan Gershkovich.

The 216 passengers and 16 crew onboard were being offered support on the ground and are understood to be in local schools for the night.

It remains unclear how many of the individuals onboard are American nationals.

Air India announced Wednesday that a replacement flight loaded with essential items and food for passengers had left Mumbai and is scheduled to take passengers from Magadan to San Francisco on Thursday.

U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel Tuesday said it is ‘likely’ there are Americans onboard given its planned destination.

‘We are aware of a U.S.-bound flight that had to make an emergency landing in Russia and are continuing to monitor that situation closely,’ Patel said.

The airline said it planned to send a plane on Wednesday to pick them up and fly them to their original destination.

‘The authorities are extending all cooperation in our effort to ensure that passengers safely reach their destination at the earliest,’ it said.

Russia’s aviation authority said it was checking on the plane’s technical condition after landing at the rural airport and it had given permission for the alternate flight to land there.

‘At present, the question of passengers’ stay and accommodation is being resolved by border, customs and regional authorities,’ Rosaviatsia said earlier in the day.

The airport at Magadan, a port town on the Sea of Okhotsk in Russia’s Far East, did not respond to a request for comment.

One woman who had two family members on board the flight told DailyMail that those onboard have been given a local school to sleep in while awaiting transportation.

Richa Verna, whose parents had been traveling to see her in California, said: ‘Russian officials have been very hospitable.

‘Considering it’s a small town they accommodated everyone, provided warm blankets, mattress, pillows and food, tea, coffee.’

Her parents sent Verna a picture of the kitchen in the school they are now in, with food and drinks available to them.

Images shared by her parents show thin mattresses laid out on the school floor, with blankets over individuals who are lying beside their cases.

It comes amid a global debate over the use of Russian airspace by some carriers, with the chief of United Airlines warning on Monday of the dangers of a plane being forced to land in Russia with American citizens on board.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.


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