B. Madhu Gopal
Miraculous escape for passengers in Paramount Airways flight at Vizag airport
VISAKHAPATNAM: Sixty two passengers and the crew of an Embraer aircraft coming to Visakhapatnam had a miraculous escape when the plane overshot the runway at the airport here on Saturday.
The Paramount Airways flight from Hyderabad took off in Hyderabad at 9.50 a.m. and reached here at 11.05 a.m.
According to a passenger, the pilot made a mistake in judging the landing position and seemed to have lost control as the aircraft skidded onto the ground. It overshot the runway by some sixty feet.
Official sources said that the aircraft was caught in the `soft ground arrester'.
The soft ground prevents the aircraft from skidding during emergencies like brake failure or forced landing.
Towing equipment is being requisitioned to retrieve the plane.
All flights to and from Visakhapatnam airport were cancelled on Saturday.
"We are making arrangements to retrieve the aircraft and all operations will resume from Sunday," Airport Controller Pattabhi said.
Meanwhile, there was utter chaos at the airport soon after the incident as there was no information about the fate of other flights.
While the Paramount Airways and airport officials were prompt in arranging to send the shocked passengers away in a bus, they were slow in giving information to passengers about the arrivals and departures of other flights.
Paula, a woman from The Netherlands, was worried about missing her connecting flight to Amsterdam from Hyderabad.
"The plane landed with a thud and there was a terrible jerk like the one we experience when we hit the speed-breaker at high speed," recalled Andhra University Vice-Chancellor L. Venugopal Reddy who came by the same flight.
`Mud on airstrip'
Meanwhile, a press release issued by Paramount Airways here said the Hyderabad-Visakhapatnam flight no I7-502 slightly overshot the runway after safe landing because of mud on the airstrip.
There was no damage to the aircraft and all passengers are safe.
The flight had 70 passengers and they were alighted normally using the regular step-ladder, the release added.