Eight injured as private plane veers off runway at Mumbai airport

Emergency workers forced to cut pilot and co-pilot out of cockpit after aircraft breaks in two

The crash occurred during heavy rain that authorities said reduced visibility to 700 metres. Photo: Twitter
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Eight people, including the pilot and co-pilot, were injured when a private aircraft skidded off the runway during heavy rain in Mumbai, western India.

The incident, which involved a Learjet 45 aircraft operated by VSR Ventures, happened at about 6pm on Thursday.

The plane had flown from Visakhapatnam, also known as Vizag, in Andhra Pradesh state.

The fuselage broke into two parts after the aircraft veered off the runway while attempting to land at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport.

All eight people on board the aircraft suffered spinal injuries. One crew member and four passengers also sustained injuries including fractures.

“Visibility was 700 metres with heavy rain,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said.

The passengers included Dhruv Kotak, managing director of Mumbai conglomerate JM Baxi, and Dutch citizen Lars Soens. All were taken for treatment at a private hospital.

Emergency workers had to cut their way into the cockpit to rescue the pilot and co-pilot. Sunil Bhat, the pilot in command, sustained injuries to his spine and forehead, while first officer Neil Diwan sustained a spinal fracture and was unable to move the lower parts of the body.

Emergency personnel arrive at the crash site after the aircraft skidded off the runway. Photo: Twitter

“We had taken a rescue van to the tarmac. We had to cut the cockpit with the cutter, else it was not possible to rescue the two pilots," said Pandurang Dudhal, divisional fire officer at the Mumbai Fire Brigade.

The incident disrupted flights at the airport for 30 minutes, with officials diverting 39 aircraft, media reports said.

Updated: September 15, 2023, 9:18 AM