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Air India flight to San Francisco diverted to Russia after engine problem

Air India aircrafts stand at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India on April 29, 2011. | Kevin Frayer/AP Photo

An Air India plane flying from New Delhi to San Francisco was diverted to Russia after it developed an engine problem, the airline said Wednesday.

The plane, a Boeing 777 carrying 216 passengers and 16 crew members, landed safely at Russia’s Magadan airport in Siberia in the country’s far east on Tuesday, Air India said in a statement.

The flight “developed a technical issue with one of its engines,” it said, adding that the aircraft was undergoing safety checks and the passengers were being provided support on the ground.

The airline said later Wednesday that a replacement aircraft had taken off from Mumbai and was flying to Magadan so the stranded passengers could continue their travel to the U.S.

This image from video provided by passenger Girvaan Singh Kahma shows Air India's Boeing 777 after it landed at Russia's Magadan airport in Siberia on Tuesday. The plane that was flying from New Delhi to San Francisco, landed safely after it developed an engine problem, officials said on Wednesday. | Girvaan Singh Kahma/AP

The aircraft will take the passengers to San Francisco on Thursday, it said.

Vedant Patel, a U.S. State Department spokesperson, said American citizens were likely on the flight but could not immediately confirm how many.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation,” Patel said.

Girvaan Singh Kahma, 16, was traveling on the flight with his uncle and brother. He said they are barred from leaving the hostel where they are staying in Magadan and can’t use their credit cards to buy things because of sanctions over Russia’s war on Ukraine.

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“The first day and a half was really hard for all of us,” he said. “The weather went to 3 to 4 degrees (Celsius) in the morning, and in the night it was bitter cold,” he said, adding that it was getting better with food and a place to sleep.

“The Russian soldiers, the Russian police, the authorities, everyone working in the hostel has been treating us extremely well,” he said.