The Washington Post reported that, despite the audible collision, the pilot told the airport director the plane's systems were functioning normally and he was continuing toward Dubai, across the Indian Ocean.
"But we found some parts of the plane, like an antenna, on the ground," the director said. Finally, about two hours into the flight, ground control convinced the pilot to return to India, where the plane landed in Mumbai.
Indeed, there was a huge gash in the plane's underbelly, and mesh fencing was wrapped around the landing gear.
All 130 passengers arrived unharmed and were booked on other flights, and the pilot and co-pilot have been grounded pending a review.
• Hatam Hamad, 56, a Palestinian and American dual citizen, made a name for himself as he flew from New Orleans to Heathrow Airport in London, reported Fox News. Six hours into the flight, after swigging five servings of wine, Hamad approached New Orleans TV executive Joel Vilmenay, who was sitting with his wife and two children.
"This man had his penis out and exposed within 3 inches of my face," Vilmenay said in his statement to the Uxbridge Magistrates Court prosecutor, Wendy Barrett.
Vilmenay said he stood up and asked Hamad what he was doing, whereupon Hamad "responded by grunting" and exposed himself to another passenger.
At that moment, Hamad "slapped (Vilmenay) in the chest with some force."
The cabin crew were alerted, and Hamad was removed to the back of the plane, where he was guarded for the remainder of the flight.
Hamad, who has no previous convictions, at first denied having assaulted anyone, but later admitted his guilt, saying he had not drunk alcohol for three months but was a nervous flyer.
His prison sentence was suspended, but he was ordered to pay Vilmenay $789.