Seven injured as Gulf Air plane skids off runway at Kochi airport

The Gulf Air plane stuck in the slush, after it shot off the runway, at Cochin International Airport. Photo: H. Vibhu   | Photo Credit: H_Vibhu

The Gulf Air aircraft with 137 passengers and six crew members on board that landed at the CIAL here on Monday shot off the runway and got stuck in the slush.

Officials said that the flight GF 270 touched down the tarmac at 3.55 a.m. and slipped off the runway. Seven passengers sustained injuries. Of this, the condition of two is serious.

One of the passengers who sustained multiple fractures when a Gulf Air flight from Bahrain overshot the runway while landing at the Cochin International Airport Limited in the early morning hours of Monday underwent an emergency surgery at a private hospital at Angamaly.

According to sources at the Little Flower Hospital, Said Muhamad, 47, of Mathur in Palakkad district, has sustained fractures on the ankle of the right leg, left rib and left elbow. He was undergoing surgery at the time of reporting.

Mr. Muhamad, one of the 137 passengers aboard the Gulf Air flight, works in an automatic door shop in Saudi Arabia. He boarded the flight to Kochi from Dammam via Bahrain on Sunday at Indian time 5.30 p.m.

A few more passengers were brought to the hospital with minor injuries. They were administered first aid and were promptly discharged.

According to airport sources, Gulf Air flight, GF 270, hit an air pocket and was unstable during its approach to the Kochi airport for landing before eventually overshooting the runway and coming to a grinding halt in the slush at around 3.55 a.m.

Airport Correspondent adds:

Pandemonium prevailed inside the flight even before the flight made a rough landing at the airport.

Going by passenger accounts, soon after the flight hit the air pocket, smoke erupted inside the cabin leading to panic cries of frightened passengers. “The flight was unstable since then and during its approach to the airport,” said one of the passengers.

As soon as the flight came to a halt entrapped in the slush, passengers jumped out through the emergency exit. Though a mat was laid atop the slush, in the mad rush to get out, many of them tumbled over the mat to the slush, injuring themselves.

It was the jump through the emergency exit that injured many, said Mr. Mohammed, before going under the knife soon thereafter. He accused that passengers were left in the dark about the happenings as the flight crew did not made any announcements to assuage their confusion. However, a section of passengers said that the pilot did announced that the flight was about to make a safe landing.

“We almost faced death and its god’s grace that we are safe,” said Sooraj, a resident of Palakkad, who was yet to come to grip with his miraculous escape.

The flight involved in the accident is yet to be towed away from the spot. Almost the entire aircraft, except for one of its wings, which touches the shoulder of the runway, is beyond the runway.

Equipment needed for towing is to be brought by Air India from Mumbai. However, the Air India flight was not yet airborne owing to the uncertainty about the possibility of landing at the Kochi airport.

Meanwhile, flight operations to and from the airport remains partially disrupted. Services of small and medium aircraft resumed with an Oman Air flight landing soon after noon. Normal services will have to wait till the flight concerned is towed away.

New Delhi Special Correspondent writes:

Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi said on Monday that initial reports suggested the accident occurred due to the weather conditions.

“DGCA which is the regulatory body has asked for a report. The report which has come to me is that it is a difficult place though the runway is long enough. Rains and winds were there. Then, the aircraft landed and slipped,'' Mr. Ravi told reporters here.

He said the runway would become operational soon. “By God's grace, nothing serious happened,'' he said.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 1:32:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/seven-injured-as-gulf-air-plane-skids-off-runway-at-kochi-airport/article2408093.ece

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