Gulf Air plane skids off runway at Kochi airport

V. Sajeev Kumar New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

A scene of an Gulf Air plane that skidded off the runway at Nedumbasseri International Airport near Kochi, Kerala on Monday. _ K.K. Mustafah   -  Business Line

A major disaster was averted at Cochin International Airport in the early hours of Monday when a Gulf Air Bus A320 flight from Bahrain skidded off the runway and was stranded in the mud before stopping.

Though the 137 passengers and eight crew members had a miraculous escape, six passengers sustained minor injuries and one person suffered a fracture and has been hospitalised. The injured passengers were given first aid treatment and discharged from hospital.

The runway of the airport had to be closed for traffic for nearly about eight hours and operations were partially restored by afternoon for smaller aircrafts.

Flights diverted

Some of the flights were diverted to Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Bangalore in the morning. The airport officials said there were no cancellations of flights although there were some delays and diversions of flights on account of the incident.

Mr V.J. Kurien, Managing Director, Cochin International Airport Ltd, said that the runway had not been damaged and he attributed the accident to low visibility caused by turbulent weather.

He said the airport officials completed the check-out formalities within 55 minutes of the incident.

Cranes to lift aircraft

Meanwhile, a two-member team from the Director General of Civil Aviation led by the Assistant Director, Mr Durairaj, started investigations into the incident.

CIAL had engaged two of its cranes of 50- and 60-tonnes capacity to lift the aircraft, which had strayed into the slushy area resulting in damage to its nose-wheel.

The airport company had also engaged a bigger crane from Cochin Shipyard Ltd with a capacity of 100 tonnes to support the clearing of the damaged aircraft.

Caught unawares

Most of the passengers were coming home from the Middle-East for the Ramzan festival.

Reports indicate that they were taken totally unawares and that the crew did not inform them of any impending emergency.

They realised that the plane had strayed off the runway only when the emergency doors were opened.

The mishap also affected the movement of Gulf immigrants from the State as schools in various Gulf countries are set to reopen within a few days.

The departure hall of the international terminal was overcrowded with passengers scheduled to board international flights.

Published on August 29, 2011

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