161 people on board a Mumbai-bound Jet Airways aircraft on Tuesday had a miraculous escape when it skidded-off the runway, made an abrupt about turn and its nose touched the soft land while taxiing for take-off on Tuesday in Goa airport, leaving 12 passengers injured.
There were 154 passengers and seven crew members onboard when the Boeing 737 aircraft turned a full 360 degree on the runaway and veered towards the soft land and in the process damaging the landing gear around 5 AM.
The nose cone was virtually on the grass abutting the runway, indicating the seriousness of the accident that could have been disastrous.
There was panic inside the aircraft as the plane jerked when it spun. The “minor” injuries to the 12 passengers came when they were being evacuated from the stricken aircraft.
The flying licence of the two pilots was suspended an a probe launched into the accident. It will be conducted by Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) of the Civil Aviation Ministry.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said a thorough time-bound investigation and corrective action shall be ensured. Action will be taken in case of violation of procedures, he added.
Seven of the injured have been discharged from the hospital after being provided medical aid and the airline’s flight operations to and from Goa have resumed, Jet Airways said.
Meanwhile, AAIB has rushed a three-member team to the “accident” spot to start its investigation, sources in New Delhi said.
“Prima facie the runway accident appears to be a pilot’s fault. The DGCA has withdrawn the flying privileges of the two pilots, including the Commander, pending the initial outcome of the probe,” a highly-placed DGCA official told PTI.
Sources in the AAIB also said that in all “probability,” the accident took place because of the pilots fault, adding, “We will get to know the actual cause of the accident only after the initial report is submitted in this regard.”
Sources said the preliminary findings on the accident are likely to be submitted in a week’s time.
“We have resumed normal operations to and from Goa and normalcy has also restored to the operations at Goa airport,” Jet Airways said in a statement.