The flight – DN 108 from Coimbatore – had landed on the runway at 10:17 am, after which it swivelled towards the right on impact, before stopping 200 feet off the runway.
According to airport sources, the aircraft touched down on the runway, moved up and came down on another impact, leaving its nose wheel cut and propellors and main wheel damaged. Five passengers and four crew members suffered minor injuries amid the rush to get out of the aircraft. The injured were treated at the medicare unit at the airport and Manipal Hospital on Airport Road. The ATR 72-500 aircraft had 40 passengers and four crew on board.
Even as Air Deccan chose to downplay the incident as minor, a passenger of the aircraft has raised doubts about the crew’s efficiency in handling emergency situations. In his first-hand account of the incident, registered in writing at the terminal, Mr B R S Prasad has charged the crew with inept response to the incident.
“I feel that the air hostesses are ill-equipped to handle such emergency situations... There was considerable delay in attending to the passengers as well,” he said. The passenger said he could see smoke coming out of the aircraft, following which the plane “swivelled off the runway” and the passengers were requested to make the exit through the aircraft’s rear door.
Air Deccan said it would “investigate the crew’s procedure” in response to the incident.
Landing accident sets off weekend chaos at Bangalore airport
The HAL Airport here, hardly equipped to cope with burgeoning traffic volumes even on a normal day, was thrown into disarray for more than four hours on Saturday after an Air Deccan ATR 72-500 aircraft skidded off the runway while landing and blocked both the main runways. The flight was coming in from Coimbatore at 10.17 a.m. From that point until 3 p.m. the airport was closed to traffic.
Five passengers were injured: one had a fracture. There were 35 other passengers and four crew members. Officials of the budget airline that is based here could not articulate clearly why the plane had skidded, but pending an investigation said it could have been caused by faulty landing gear or a hard landing.
Some of the passengers said that as the aircraft touched down they saw smoke near the emergency doors. There was some panic. One passenger even attempted to open an emergency door but was stopped by the cabin crew. Passengers were assured that all could exit normally.
B.R.S. Prasad, a passenger from Coimbatore, said the cabin crew did not appear to be equipped to deal with the situation. "They provided no help for some minutes... all of us rushed towards the exits. There was considerable delay before the injured persons were attended to," he said. Another passenger, who did want to be identified, said he took the responsibility of calming down his fellow travellers and made them get down in a line. There was no cooperation from the cabin crew, he also complained. Several passengers had angry remarks about the airline not having responded swiftly to the situation.
Appears that the DN crew have not been trained properly. Not opening emergency door and preventing passengers from opening it when aircraft landing gear is down and smoke coming out of cockpit?? The DGCA should look at this issue, people's lives are at stake here!!
[Edited 2006-03-12 04:24:41]