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Air India pilots, crew slug it out at 30,000 feet

Fiistfight on UAE-India flight results in injuries

A mid-air brawl broke out between pilots and cabin crew on an Air India flight, prompting an investigation into the row, the airline said Sunday.

The tiff began in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates but escalated as the Airbus A-320 approached Delhi as the fighting spilled out from the cockpit into the plane’s galley to the surprise of its 106 passengers, the Times of India reported.

One of the female crew members, who apparently made an announcement that was not up to par from the pilot’s point of view, alleged the pilots sexually harassed her.

The pilots in turn accused a male crew member, who went in to see what had happened to his colleague, of misconduct that compromised flight safety.

The paper said unconfirmed reports suggested the cockpit of the Airbus A-320 was left unmanned at one point, and one of the pilots threatened to divert the plane to Pakistan after comparing the situation to a hijacking.

The 24-year-old female crew member and a co-pilot were both bruised in the incident on Saturday, and no one denied the in-flight fighting. Police have registered a case against the pilots for "outraging the modesty of a woman," the Times said

This incident is shocking and we may need to take exemplary action

Directorate General of Civil Aviation official

"There are several eyewitnesses and we are recording their statements," the Times quoted police commissioner Satyendra Garg as saying.

State-run Air India said in a statement it had ordered an inquiry into what it described as a reported "scuffle" adding that two pilots and two crew members had been suspended.

“This incident is shocking and we may need to take exemplary action," a senior official at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation was quoted as saying.