A Jet Airways plane with 161 passengers onboard has skidded off a runway in the popular Indian holiday resort of Goa. Smoke was seen filling the cabin just ahead of take off and the Boeing 737 then veered over a field before ending up in a ditch to the side of a service road at the airport terminal just before dawn.
Twelve people were injured and all 154 passengers and seven crew on the flight, which was heading out of Goa to Mumbai, were evacuated from the aircraft. A number of passengers said they had spotted smoke in the cabin as the plane began to taxi to prepare for take off.
One passenger said she had fractured her leg, adding that as soon as the plane began taxiing along the runway, it then slipped into a nearby field. She also said she had seen smoke inside the aircraft.
Meanwhile, the injured were laid out on stretchers on the service road awaiting medical attention, while the plane appeared to have damaged a wing as well as having lost its front undercarriage. Jet Airways, which is the country’s second largest carrier, said in a statement following the crash that flight 9W 2374 had skidded off the runway at Goa’s Dabolim airport because of a technical problem while aligning for take off.
The accident took place during Dabolim airport’s busiest month, as many holidaymakers travel to Goa to escape cold winters elswhere in the world. An investigation has now been launched into how the crash happened.
It is understood that passengers were injured during the evacuation process rather than during the crash itself, according to Jet. While passengers were being evacuated, the jet tilted forward. The flight had come in from Dubai and was preparing to take off again to Mumbai. The airport was closed for around seven hours while authorities dealt with the incident.