An Air India plane flying to London has been forced to return to Mumbai after passengers spotted a rat on board.

The airline said though the rat was not found, the pilot returned to Mumbai keeping passenger safety in mind. The aircraft would be fumigated and checked before it is returned to service, a spokesman said.

Passengers were later flown by a separate aircraft to London.

Air India had two other mishaps within a day. A pilot aborted takeoff from a northern Indian city after a stray dog ran onto the runway as the plane was taxiing.

And an Air India plane from Mumbai was hit by a catering van at the Newark, New Jersey, airport in the United States.