Terrified passengers jumped out of a plane in India on Monday after it skidded to halt on landing, trying to escape before emergency ladders were put in place, officials said.
Seven passengers were injured in the pre-dawn incident when the Gulf Air flight from Bahrain to Kochi in the southern Indian state of Kerala landed badly in wet weather conditions and veered onto muddy grassland.
“The Bahrain-Kochi Airbus 320 shot 10 metres (30 feet) off the runway. Some passengers in panic jumped out of the emergency exit before the ladders were brought,” A.C.K. Nair, Kochi Airport director, told AFP.
“Because the nose of the plane was damaged the emergency (inflatable) ladder did not work, so a rescue team started bringing ladders to the site. But before they arrived, people began to jump.”
“All those injured were injured because they jumped out too soon.”
One passenger remained in hospital and the runway was closed for several hours, Nair said.
“The preliminary investigation revealed bad weather and poor visibility caused the accident,” another airport official who declined to give his name told AFP.
Nair said 137 passengers were on board the flight.
In May 2010, a passenger jet overshot the runway in the south Indian city of Mangalore, killing 158 people in the country’s worst aviation disaster since 1996.