Gulf Air passenger plane skids off runway in southwest India

August 29th, 2011 - 11:02 pm ICT by BNO News  

KOCHI (BNO NEWS) — Several people were injured on early Monday morning when an Airbus 320 belonging to Gulf Air skidded off the runway at an airport in southwest India, the airline said. Heavy rainfall is believed to have caused the incident.

The incident happened at around 1.45 a.m. local time when Gulf Air flight 270 was attempting to land at Cochin International Airport, which is located about 25 kilometers (16 miles) north of the major port city of Kochi. The plane was carrying 143 people, including one infant and six crew members.

Gulf Air spokeswoman Katherine Kaczynska said in a statement that the aircraft skidded off the runway during heavy rainfall. “The emergency chute was deployed and all passengers were evacuated and transferred to the airport terminal immediately by shuttle bus,” she said.

Several people sustained injuries during the evacuation of the aircraft, including two passengers who were treated for minor injuries in the terminal building. A third passenger, an Indian national, was transported to Little Flower Hospital. “His condition is not critical,” she said.

Gulf Air said the Airbus 320, which suffered a nose gear collapse during the skid, was only 1.5 year old and had an up-to-date service history. “Rainy weather conditions are suspected to be the cause of this incident, however the aircraft was approved for landing and the cause will not be able to be confirmed until a full investigation has been completed,” Kaczynska said.

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. And in September 1982, 112 people were killed when a bomb exploded aboard Gulf Air flight 771, causing the Boeing 737-200 to crash in the desert near Mina Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates.

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