SEATTLE — An 8-by-4-foot fuselage panel on the belly of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by Air India fell off while the plane was in flight with 148 people aboard from Delhi to Bangalore, the Times of India reported. The plane landed safely.
India’s aviation agency is investigating the incident, which occurred Saturday. The loss of the panel left a gaping hold in the cargo hold, the Times said. It was not known where the aircraft piece landed.
There were 148 people, including crew, on the flight, and the hole was only noticed when the plane landed and the ground staff saw it.
The Reuters news agency quoted Boeing Co. spokesman Doug Alder as confirming a fuselage panel fell off the Air India plane in flight and as saying the missing pieced posed no safety risk to passengers. Alder told Reuters that Boeing is working to understand what caused the part to fall off.
The incident is the latest in a series of problems faced by the new Dreamliner aircraft, starting with a battery fires and smoke that grounded all Dreamliners across the world for months.