(Bloomberg) -- Air India Ltd. sent a replacement aircraft to pick up passengers stranded in Russia by engine trouble and ferry them from the sanctioned country to their original destination of San Francisco.

The incident is shaping into a multi-day ordeal for the travelers, who settled in for a 15 1/2-hour trip from New Delhi on Tuesday. 

Several hours in, the Boeing Co. 777-200LR developed engine trouble and was forced to make an emergency landing in Magadan, a port city in the far east of Russia. The 216 passengers and 16 crew were placed in makeshift accommodation, Air India said.  

A rescue aircraft carrying food and essentials left Mumbai and is expected to arrive in Magadan at 6:30 a.m. local time on Thursday, the airline said. Once ready, it’ll then transfer on to San Francisco, a journey likely to take more than seven hours, based on flights of similar distances. 

“There would certainly be American passport holders” on board, said Mark Martin, Dubai-based aviation consultant. While he didn’t expect problems exiting the country, “it does raise a whole lot of eyebrows because it’s Russia.”

Air India didn’t immediately respond to questions on how many US citizens were on the flight or how the disabled jet will be removed from Russia. Sanctions imposed after the invasion of Ukraine make it difficult for airlines to send Western parts to the country. 

The episode underscores concerns raised earlier this week by United Airlines Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby, who said flying over Russia created “a safety and security risk.” He offered variety of reasons that US citizens could be forced to land in Russia.

US airlines are barred from overflying Russian airspace — a major corridor for East-West flights — under reciprocal sanctions put in place after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in February 2022. United and other US carriers say they’re at a disadvantage to Chinese and Indian rivals whose access remains unrestricted. 

Read more: Airspace Dispute Has US Carriers Sitting Out China’s Reopening

Air India said earlier that the original flight was forced to divert to the Russian town to the north of Japan due to a technical glitch with one of its General Electric Co. engines. Reports on social media showed passengers wandering through a facility with a snack table and mattresses, blankets and luggage strewn on the floor.

With no staff based in Russia, “ground support being provided to the passengers is the best possible in this unusual circumstance,” Air India said, adding that it was working with the Indian Consulate General in Vladivostok, India’s Ministry of External Affairs, local ground handlers and Russian authorities. 

(Updates with plan for rescue flight from second paragraph)

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.