Gulf Air aircraft veers off Kochi airport runway; flights diverted and airport closed

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By TBM Staff | Mumbai

At least seven passengers were injured as a Gulf Air plane from Bahrain with 137 passengers veered off the runway at the Cochin International Airport while landing, and went into a muddy area, damaging its nose wheel early today. One person, who suffered fractures, has been hospitalised while six other passengers with minor injuries were discharged after first aid, airport sources said. Moreover, as the nose wheel has been damaged, recovery was taking time due to which the runway has been closed for 10 hours, informed ACK Nair, Director, Cochin International Airport Ltd. "We are trying our best to partially open the runway as early as possible," he said.

Flights to Kochi are being diverted to Thiruvananthapuram and Bangalore airports, Nair said. 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. Passengers are being brought by road to Kochi from Thiruvananthapuram, according to a PTI report.

The departure schedule of three flights -- belonging to Emirates, Air Arabia and Qatar flights, which were at the airport at the time of mishap, has been affected. Bhushan said the runway has been blocked till 3 PM.

The Gulf Air plane (GF 270) with six crew deviated from the runway at 3:55am this morning. Some passengers panicked and jumped from the aircraft through the emergency door even before the ladder was brought to the plane, airport sources said. Heavy rains and strong winds have been lashing Kochi airport since last night.

E K Bharat Bhushan, Director General, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered an enquiry into the incident. A Disabled Aircraft Retrieval Kit is being sent from Mumbai, he said. Bhushan said the reason behind the mishap was not yet known. "There was visibility till 2,000 metres. Only after a preliminary enquiry, the cause of the mishap will be known," he said.
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