It was a harrowing experience for the 102 passengers and six crew members of an Air India Express flight on Tuesday after the aircraft went off the taxiway in the early hours of the morning at Kochi Airport in India’s Kerala State.
On September 5th, 2017, an Air India Express flight from Abu Dhabi to Kochi (IX 452) landed on Runway 09, turned onto the taxiway, and suddenly veered off. The 737 was taxiing towards its assigned gate at Terminal 3 at CIAL (Cochin International Airport Limited) via taxiway G. Reportedly, the aircraft executed a sharp left turn before exiting the taxiway in the proper place, ending up in an open drain on the bank of taxiway G. The aircraft sunk into the drain, damaging the fuselage of the aircraft; the main landing gear stood in the drain whilst the nose landing gear crossed the drain and collapsed due to the weight of the 737. The bottom of the two engines on the 737 aircraft hit the tarmac but reportedly suffered minimal damage.
Sources say that poor visibility in heavy rain might have been the incident’s cause; the visibility at the airport at the time was around 800 meters. None of the passengers sustained injuries in the accident. “All passengers were evacuated using a ladder, no casualties,” a Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) spokesman said in a report.
The aircraft involved was an eight-year old Boeing 737-800 equipped with winglets (VT-AYB); the aircraft is now grounded and has been stored, awaiting repairs. The aircraft is within the repairable damage limit and should be back soon.
An inquiry into the incident has been initiated by the Indian Aviation Regulator DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) and Air India Express. A full detailed reported is expected soon as the investigation is concluded.
Photo via ANI on Twitter.