Several passengers were injured Monday morning when a Gulf Air plane from Bahrain skidded off the runway moments before landing at Kochi International airport in the southern Indian state of Kerala, reported the BBC.
The GF 270 was carrying 137 passengers, including an infant, and six crew. At least seven passengers were injured.
Some passengers panicked and jumped from the aircraft through the emergency door even before the ladder was brought to the plane, said airport sources.
"As the nose wheel has been damaged, recovery would take at least 10 hours for the airport to be fully operational. The runway has no longer opened for bigger aircraft following the accident," said airport director A.C.K. Nair.
A special flight from Mumbai is expected to arrive to move the damaged plane from the runway. This exercise will be completed by 3 p.m.
Heavy wind and rain at the time of landing is suspected as a contributing factor. Kerala has been experiencing heavy showers for the last few days, and the plane over ran the runway by close to 700 meters.
The director general of civil aviation, E.K. Bharat Bhushan, has ordered an inquiry into the incident.
"Flights to Kochi are being diverted to Thiruvananthapuram and Bangalore airports," said Nair.
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.
The departure of three flights belonging to Emirates, Air Arabia and Qatar, which were at the airport at the time of mishap, has been affected.
One injured passenger, Saithmohed, 47, from Palakkad, has been hospitalized with fractures, while the rest were treated and released.
Highlight of the Kochi runway
Airbus A-320 plane
Occurred at 3.55 am
The runway- Slippery runway, due to heavy rain in Kerala since the past few days. The plane over ran the runway by close to 700 meters.
Total Passengers- 137
Damage- Nose wheel damaged
Plane facts- Disclosed
In a similar overshoot, the most catastrophic accident in India occurred May 22, 2010, when an Air India Express Flight 812, (a Boeing 737-800), crashed at Mangalore Bajpe Airport.
The Air India plane form Dubai overshot the runway with 160 passengers and six crew members on board. A total of 158 people were killed with just eight survivors; this was the worst ever crash involving the 737-800.
Highlight of Mangalore Plane crash
Occurred at: 6.30am
The runway - It is a brand new runway. The Mangalore airport is situated on a hillock, and the runway is built on a flat stretch of land, with either ends of the runway sloping downwards. The pilot misjudges his landing, the aircraft will overshoot the runway and go downhill.
Length: 5,800 ft (1,740 mts)
Runway elevation: 336 ft (101 mts)
Weather- No rain, wind calm but there was dense fog over the airport. Visibility was only 6 km, more than that required.
Passengers : 166 (137 adults, 19 children, 4 infants and 6 crew)
Plane facts: State-of-the-art Boeing 737-800 inducted on Jan. 15, 2008.
Pilot: Capt Zlatko Glusica, 55, he had 10,000 hours of flying experience.