A Gulf Air passenger airplane skidded off the runway after landing in heavy rain Monday in the southern Indian city of Kochi, injuring several people.
Officials at the Bahrain-based carrier say the accident happened before dawn as thewas attempting to land at Cochin International Airport, which is located about 25 km (16 mi.) north of the major port city of Kochi.
Gulf Air Flight 270 was carrying six crew and 137 passengers, including an infant. Several people sustained injuries during the evacuation of the aircraft, including two passengers who were treated for minor injuries. A third passenger, an Indian national, was also sent to a nearby hospital and was not critically injured, according to an airline official.
India’s Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi says according to preliminary reports rain and wind were the main reasons for the accident. “Heavy rain and strong winds were there. Then, it landed and slipped,” Ravi says. India’s aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered an investigation into the incident. “A clear picture would emerge only after the investigation was completed, though initial reports suggested the aircraft was not correctly aligned with the runway when it landed,” a DGCA official says.
V.J. Kurian, an official at Cochin International Airport Limited, says after skidding about 700 meters, “the nose wheel came off and the front portion looks as if it has broken off.”
The airport closed temporarily after the accident.
The 18-month-old A320 is one of the newest in the airlines’ fleet.
In August 2000, a total of 143 people were killed when Gulf Air Flight 072 crashed into the Persian Gulf on approach to Bahrain International Airport after a flight from Cairo. In September 1982, 112 people were killed when a bomb exploded aboard Gulf Air flight 771, causing the-200 to crash in the desert near Mina Jebel Ali Airport in the United Arab Emirates.