At least 400 Russian tourists have been stranded in Turkey for two consecutive days after a series of plane breakdowns, Russia’s Red Wings Airlines said Monday.
“Two Boeing 777 aircraft out of the three available in the airline’s fleet were simultaneously out of service due to technical reasons,” Red Wings said in a statement.
The tourists were scheduled to return to Yekaterinburg from the Turkish city of Antalya on Saturday, but passengers told the local news website E1.ru that their flight had been rescheduled several times without explanation.
An anonymous source in the aviation industry told E1.ru that one of the broken-down Boeing-777s was being repaired at Moscow’s Zhukovsky airport.
The Prosecutor General’s Office in the Russian Urals Federal District, where Yekaterinburg is located, said 410 people have been stranded in Turkey for at least 48 hours.
A second Red Wings flight from Antalya to Zhukovsky airport in the Moscow region remained grounded for more than 11 hours, causing three passengers to faint and one to experience a panic attack, according to Mash, a Telegram messaging app channel with purported links in Russia’s security services.
A jet engine cooling system malfunction was said to be the reason why the second Boeing never took off.
In its statement, Red Wings said it has loaned an additional aircraft from Russia’s charter airline Ikar that would transport tourists from Yekaterinburg to Antalya and bring back the stranded 410 tourists on a return flight.
Russia’s aviation sector is among the hardest-hit industries by Western sanctions over Ukraine.
Major plane makers Boeing and Airbus halted deliveries of new jets and spare parts to Russia, forcing the country’s airlines to reuse parts stripped from grounded aircraft.