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Plane skid due to speeding pilot: DGCA

Turkish Airways flight, an airbus 340, veers off the strip and runs aground in mud after pilot hits emergency brakes; 104 crew and passengers safe 

A Mumbai-bound Turkish Airways flight from Istanbul skidded off Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport's main runway at 4:13 am yesterday. Preliminary investigations reveal that flight TK-720 had 104 people on board when the incident happened. While turning a right from the main runway 0927, and on to the Rapid Exit Taxiway N-8, the Airbus 340 veered out of control to run off the strip to its right, burying its front wheel into the ground, and blocking the runway.


Main runway on which the Turkish Airways flight landed. As the aircraft
turned on to the Rapid Exit Taxiway, it veered off the strip, running
aground in the mud. 
Graphic/Jishu Dev Malakar


According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Friday's incident is the second in the last four days in which the pilot was found to have made an error of judgement. "On the basis of preliminary findings, we can tell that this has not happened because of rain but as a result of error in judgement by the pilot. The first mistake was that the flight headed towards the taxiway at a high speed, and the second was the application of emergency brakes at that speed due to which the plane veered off and got stuck in the mud," a senior DGCA official said.

Officials from Turkish Airways said there were no casualties. But the skid partially blocked the runway and caused it to be closed, which delayed flights. An airport official said the runway would remain closed till 8 pm yesterday. Joint DG, DGCA, AK Sharan, said, "We have constituted a three-member investigation team that is investigating all the aspects related to the incident."

The airport operator, MIAL, issued a statement saying they had carried a runway check at 3.58 am and "all infrastructure and facilities were found functional". A landing and takeoff took place after that. A statement released by Turkish Airlines blamed the skid on the rains.

t read, "On September 2, 2011, Turkish Airlines plane from Istanbul skidded off the runway after landing at the CSIA (Mumbai) in India as a result of excessive rainfall... The necessary analysis and research is being done. A new aircraft (TK 721) has been allocated for the passengers traveling from Mumbai to Istanbul."

Flights skid
On August 29, a tragedy was averted when Gulf Air flight GF 270, with 143 passengers and crew, skidded off the runway at Kochi airport at 3.55 am. The DGCA's investigation says the incident happened due to the pilot's error -- the aircraft was not properly aligned with the runway during landing, and ATC guidelines were ignored.
On July 20, a similar incident happened at the Air Force-controlled Chakeri airport of Kanpur. Air India flight AI-9801 skidded of the runway and ploughed into a muddy field.

Left Anxious
All flights were either expected or scheduled according to the information tele-screen, but passengers complained about delays, saying the information wasn't very helpful. Mohammad Hussain (40), who had just arrived to the city from a business trip, said, "My flight was delayed by an hour. We were circling over Mumbai airport for a long time. It was supposed to land at 11 am, but it touched down after noon. Security checks took  for ages. Thanks to this, now I will be late for an important meeting at Nariman Point."

David Johnson, a British national said, "My flight arrived 20 minutes late. I have been waiting for the past hour and a half for my friend Jaques' flight to arrive." The Khan family, waiting for Zarine (67) and Rehman Khan (72), who were returning from Haj had to wait. Yasmeen, their daughter, said, "Ammi and Abu's flight was to arrive at 12:10 pm, but it has been delayed due to the Turkish plane incident. Our entire family was here to give them a grand welcome, but most of them, fed up of waiting, have left."

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