Blinken grounded in Davos as plane has 'critical failure'

January 18, 2024 6:00 pm

[Source: BBC]

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been grounded in Switzerland after his plane had a “critical failure” due to an oxygen leak, officials said.

America’s top diplomat was due to return from the World Economic Forum in Davos when the flight issue occurred.

A separate plane was sent to fetch Mr Blinken, as his aides returned to Washington by commercial flight.

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Mr Blinken has visited multiple countries since the Israel-Gaza war broke out in October.

The delay occurred at the end of Mr Blinken’s trip and did not disrupt his overseas itinerary, Matthew Miller, a State Department spokesperson told reporters on Wednesday.

“There was a mechanical issue with his plane,” he said. “The Air Force has a replacement plane inbound. We expect to be back still tonight but several hours later than originally planned.”

The secretary of state and aides boarded the plane in Zurich on Wednesday and were forced to get off after the leak was identified.

He had been scheduled to return to the US aboard a Boeing 737, according to US media reports.

Mechanical issues on US Air Force passenger planes have been a concern on previous State Department trips.

On Mr Blinken’s trip to China last summer, his aides provided reporters with visas for an Azerbaijan refuelling stop just in case any maintenance issues should ground the aircraft.