Hubballi: The crew and passengers of a SpiceJet flight numbering 81 had a providential escape as the plane overshot the runway resulting in a tyre-burst on Sunday evening at the airport here. The passengers included a minister, three high court judges and an MLC.
The aircraft had taken off from Bengaluru at 5-56 pm. It arrived 15 minutes ahead of the schedule at 6-55 pm. Yet, because of unseaonable rain and storm, it could not land immediately. After circling around the airport for about 20 minutes, only when the rain subsided to some extent, the pilots could effect the touchdown around 7-15 pm.
But the plane, possibly because of the wet tarmac, overshot the 1.6-km runway and slipped ahead by about 100 metres and got stuck in a strip of mud. For the passengers, it was an experience of an emergency landing and the sound of the burst of one of the tyres was also heard at the same time.
Seventyfour passenders and three children, state minister Roshan Baig, high court Justices B S Patil, Ratnakala and B Manohar, a piolt, a co-pilot and four members of the cabin crew were on board. As the plane shook violently and as smoke and smell of rubber emanated, most of the passengers screamed and ran towards the door for safety.
The cabin staff and the ground personnel got the passenges down through the emergency exit. If the tyre burst, it was a matter of plain luck since the aircraft got stranded in the mud. If it had moved further, the consequences could have been disastrous, according to eyewitnesses.