A Gulf Air Airbus A320-200, registration A9C-AG performing flight GF-270 from Bahrain to Kochi (India) with 137 passengers and 6 crew, landed on Cochin International Airport’s runway 27 at about 22:25Z Aug 28th but veered right off the runway and came to a stop with all gear about 10 meters off the paved surface.
The aircraft was evacuated. One passenger received serious injuries (fractures) and is in hospital care, 7 other minor injuries and were released from hospital after treatment. The aircraft received substantial damage to its nose gear.
A Gulf Air flight from Bahrain with 137 passengers on board skid off the runway at the Kochi International airport in the wee hours, on Monday, injuring seven passengers.
The accident occurred at when the flight was landing at the airport, caused minor injuries to seven passengers.
The airport said the runway is closed for an estimated 10 hours although small turboprops can operate on the runway. Strong winds, rain and reduced visibility of 2000 meters prevailed at the time of landing.
Gulf Air confirmed the nose gear collapsed. One passenger received serious injuries.
India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation reported the crew provided testimony that they were able to see the runway from about 6nm out. While descending through 2000 feet AGL there was moderate rain, but after the aircraft had descended below decision height there were sudden gusts of wind and severe rain. A disabled aircraft retrieval kit is being brought in from Mumbai to move the aircraft back onto paved surface and off the runway.
A passenger reported that the airplane had landed normally when the pilot all of the sudden lost control. The aircraft skidded off the runway into the grass and mud. Shouts occurred in the cabin “MAYDAY, MAYDAY, EVACUATE”, smoke began to fill the cabin, the passenger noticed some some strange smell of some gasses. Cabin crew later said the aircraft had been evacuated in 20 seconds, the captain appeared to be in total shock after evacuation.
The runway was re-opened for takeoffs from runway 27 and landing on runway 09 with a reduced runway length (landing distance available on runway 27 and takeoff distance available on runway 09) of 2050 meters.
The local weather station reported partly cloudy, variable winds at 3 knots and visibility of 4000 meters at 02:30L, light rain, winds from west southwest at 19 knots (significantly different to Metars) and visibility of 2000 meters at 05:30L (00:00Z).
Cochin International Airport offers a runway 09/27 of 3400 meters length with ILS and VOR approaches to runway 27 and a VOR approach to runway 09.
VOCI 290000Z 26003KT 4000 HZ FEW008 SCT015 OVC080 26/24 Q1008 TEMPO VIS 2000M RA
VOCI 282330Z 28005KT 4000 HZ FEW006 SCT015 OVC080 26/24 Q1008 NOSIG
VOCI 282300Z 00000KT 4000 HZ FEW005 SCT015 OVC080 26/24 Q1008 NOSIG
VOCI 282130Z 29005KT 3000 HZ SCT010 SCT080 26/24 Q1008 NOSIG
VOCI 282100Z 04004KT 3000 HZ SCT010 BKN080 26/24 Q1008 NOSIG
VOCI 282030Z 00000KT 3000 HZ FEW010 SCT015 BKN080 26/25 Q1009 NOSIG
VOCI 281800Z 00000KT 3000 HZ FEW010 SCT015 BKN080 27/25 Q1010 NOSIG
A1201/11 – OBSTRUCTION DUE DISABLED ACFT ON RWY. PSN: 2200M FM THE BEGINNING
OF RWY09. 31M NORTH OF CL OF RWY. HGT: 11M AGL
REVISED DECALRED DISTANCES OF RWY09/27 DUE DISABLED ACFT ON RWY
RWY TORA TODA ASDA LDA
09 1500M 1500M 1500M 2050M
27 2050M 2050M 2050M 1500M
ARRIVALS PERMITTED ON RWY09 ONLY AND DEPARTURES PERMITTED ON RWY27
ONLY. ALL ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES ARE LIKELY TO BE DLA. 29 AUG 06:00 2011 UNTIL 29 AUG 18:30 2011 ESTIMATED.
The accident took place around 3.55 am and the runway will be fully operational by around 11 pm. By noon, most domestic and international flights, except for a few large aircraft, were allowed to touch down. “Immediately after the incident, the runway was closed and flights were diverted to other nearby destinations or canceled,” said airport director A C K Nair.
One passenger from Palakkad, Said Mohammed, 47, was injured and had been admitted to a nearby hospital while the others were discharged after first aid. The passengers had suffered injuries because they had jumped out of the aircraft through the emergency exit.
The mishap occurred due to heavy rainfall and strong winds that had brought down the visibility on the runway. The aircraft skid off the runway and traveled around 50 meters through sludgebefore coming to a halt.
According to Kurien the visibility of the runway was badly affected due to heavy downpour when the plane was around 300 meters above the ground level. So the pilots had no other option but to land. The pilots said bad weather was the reason for the mishap. The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) E K Bharat Bhushan has ordered an enquiry into the incident. Kochi-bound flights were either diverted to Thiruvananthapuram and Bangalore airports. While an Etihad flight from Kuwait, two Jet Airways flights from Sharjah and Muscat have been diverted to Thiruvananthapuram, an Oman-Kochi flight has been sent to Bangalore.
An AI Express plane was flown from Mumbai to Kochi on Monday afternoon carrying men and material to remove the damaged aircraft. It was a non scheduled flight.
Air India is the only airline which has the necessary equipment and expertise to remove damaged aircraft and following a request from Kochi airport authorities AI flew a Boeing 737 with the equipment. “In this procedure an inflatable air bag is placed under the wings of the aircraft and once the wings get lifted they are pulled by a trolley,” an AI official said.