MANGALURU: As many as 183 passengers and six crew members on board an Air India Express flight from Dubai had a miraculous escape on Sunday when the flight veered off the taxiway at the Mangalore International Airport and entered a slushy area. The incident occurred when the aircraft was making its way to the terminal building.
According to airport sources, Air India Express flight IX384 which left Dubai at 12.39 pm local time, missed the approach at MIA at 5.32 pm and thereafter landed in the second attempt at 5.42 pm on Sunday. While on the taxiway, the aircraft entered the muddy area due to high speed and got stuck in the slush, according to the Air Traffic Control.
Airport director V V Rao told media persons that the aircraft was making its way to the terminal building.
The airline used a ladder platform to deboard the passengers at the site, a little distance away from the terminal, and ferried them to the terminal building. All passengers are safe and the plane will be towed to the terminal soon. Priority is to get the aircraft into the apron, he said.
Airport sources said the pilot may have accidentally powered up the aircraft while bringing it from the main runway to the apron when the aircraft veered off the taxiway, crossed a small gutter and ended up on the grassy patch adjoining the taxiway.
Air India Express engineers are in the process of towing the struck aircraft. According to an airline spokesperson, the flight landed safely on the runway. “When vacating the runway to the right side, it had veered off the taxiway into the soft ground.
The braking system was not effective due to the wet weather. All on board are safe and were made to alight from the plane using a step ladder as soon as the incident occurred,” the spokesperson said. “The incident at taxiway 24 took place because of wet weather. Tail winds are likely to have caused the flight to go off the runway,” the spokesperson added.
“AI Express engineers are being flown from Mumbai via Kannur to the Mangalore airport to ensure that the flight is brought back to its correct position in the taxiway, “ he added.
The flight is a Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft. The crew on board included four cabin members and two pilots. An internal inquiry will be conducted by the Flight Safety Department of the airline and the incident has been reported to the Director General of Civil Aviation, the spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, District In-charge Minister U T Khader has sought a high-level probe into the incident. He also spoke to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and the Aviation Ministry and asked them to investigate if there was some failure on the part of the pilot or the airline.