SpiceJet plane veers off runway on landing at Shirdi airport, disrupts regional facility; pilots suspended
The SpiceJet aircraft was stuck on the runway due to which all arrivals and departures were halted
The incident took place at 4.30 pm, the airline said, adding that all the passengers and the crew are safe
DGCA has dispatched off an official to the airport to carry out the initial probe into the matter
Passengers and the crew were trapped inside the plane for over two-and-a-half hours, but are safe
Mumbai: A Boeing 737 aircraft operated by low-cost carrier SpiceJet Monday overshot the runway while landing at the Shirdi airport, bringing the regional facility to a complete halt, airport director Dhiren Bhosale said.
The incident took place at 4.30 pm, the airline said, adding that all the passengers and the crew are safe.
The airline also grounded both the pilots pending an internal enquiry, while the regulator DGCA has dispatched off an official to the airport to carry out the initial probe into the matter.
However, a full-fledged investigation will be conducted by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau, which has the mandate to probe all serious incidents and accidents involving all commercial and private planes.
According to sources, passengers and the crew were trapped inside the plane for over two-and-a-half hours, but are however, safe, and efforts are on to tow away the aircraft from the runway and resume operations at the earliest.
"A SpiceJet aircraft shot-off the runway by about 50 meters and skidded off. There is no injury to any passenger and the crew, though.
"Our first priority is to evacuate passengers without compromising their safety," Bhosale told PTI over phone from the Shirdi airport that primarily serves the pilgrims to the popular Hindu shrine, and is around 180 km north-east off the megapolis.
The number of passengers and crew on board the B737-800 aircraft is not known immediately, he added. The airline also refused to share the passengers and the crew details.
He said the aircraft is stuck on the runway due to which all arrivals and departures are halted.
"We are making all efforts to tow away the aircraft and clear the runway," Bhosale said, adding the Shirdi airport does not have the required wherewithal to tow away the stuck plane.
The operations are expected to resume only on Tuesday as airport authorities have sought infrastructure and expertise from other airports such as Pune, Mumbai and Aurangabad to retrieve the plane, he said.
"We are expecting to retrieve the aircraft on Tuesday, only after that we will be able to recommence operations," Bhosale said.
SpiceJet, in a statement, said its B737-800 aircraft (SG 946) from New Delhi to Shirdi was involved in the incident.
"While landing at Shirdi, the aircraft overshot the runway. The passengers and the crew who are safe are being deplaned normally," the airline said.
The airport handles 24 flight flights per day, 12 departures and arrivals each, operated by Air India's regional subsidiary Alliance and SpiceJet.
Meanwhile, Alliance Air was forced to cancel its Hyderabad-Shirdi flight, which was on the way to the temple town when the incident took place.
Adani Group-owned Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport had temporarily shut the runway between 11 am and 5 pm on Tuesday to facilitate the maintenance and repair work
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