Gulf Air flight GF003 made an emergency landing at London Heathrow Airport, United Kingdom, on December 13.
Authorities said the pilots of the Airbus 330, flying from Bahrain, declared an emergency after the aircraft developed some technical issues that led to a drop in cabin pressure.
The plane landed safely. All 89 passengers aboard remained unhurt.
The airline said in a statement, “The safety, protection and comfort of our passengers and employees are of utmost importance and Gulf Air crew are trained to handle such incidents, as evidenced by the level of professionalism shown by both the pilots and cabin crew as well as all of our teams on the ground.”
What: Gulf Air Airbus A320-200 en route from Bahrain to Kochi, India Where: Kochi When: Aug 28th 2011, 3.55 am Who: 137 passengers and 6 crew, 8 injuries Why: In examining this August incident, after doing some runway testing, the DGCA is blaming the accident on a slick runway.
However defects have been found in the plane’s front wheel. And the statement of the DCGA’s opinion also mentions pilot error. So they have released a statement combining pilot error, plane flaws and a bad runway as being behind the runway excursion.
Can a pilot land on a slick runway? What exactly was the pilot’s error in this situation? Does the entire runway have the identical friction coefficient or just the area tested? Runway friction is also going to be affected by the condition of the tires; what was the condition of the tire before it blew? Inquiring minds want to know.
Airport testing at Cochin airport revealed airport friction level.
A C K Nair, director of the Cochin airport made the following defensive statement:
“As per the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) norms the friction coefficients of the runways should not go below 0.34, while the value was 0.61 to 0.86 till recently. On the day of the mishap the average value was hovering between 0.52 and 0.84. The value at the spot where the ill-fated aircraft touched the runway was 0.75 to 0.85. We did another test on September 3 and the value was above 0.5.’
What: Gulf Air Airbus A320-200 en route from Bahrain to Kochi, India Where: Kochi When: Aug 28th 2011, 3.55 am Who: 137 passengers and 6 crew, 8 injuries Why: On landing in gusty wind and severe rain at Cochin International Airport, the plane skidded to the right and slid ten meters from the pavement into mud. The nose was damaged, and according to some reports, interfered with the operation of the slides; some slides were brought to the plane. Those who were injured were the ones who jumped. Said Muhamad, 47, sustained a fractured right ankle, left rib and left elbow and is recovering at Little Flower Hospital.
One report says flight 270 hit an air pocket and overshot (or landed too far down) the runway. It may have been simple turbulence.The approach appears to have been too fast on the slick runway. No mention has been made of the runway surface, or if the runway had been resurfaced.
According to Said Muhamad, the flight crew apparently did not adequately direct passengers, or explain what was going on, which may be why he did not wait for slides, and just jumped off the plane.
Passengers disembarked quickly after it appeared (to them) that the pilot had lost control. Evacuation occurred promptly, after “Mayday!” “Evacuation!” was shouted in the plane’s cabin.
Reports conflict as to the success of the emergency slides which did not apparently deploy perfectly, and some people jumped from the plane. There were 8 injured, one with extreme fractures.
Evacuation was reported to be in more than twenty seconds. (though I interpret that to mean that the evacuation began within twenty seconds of landing—one can hardly picture 137 passengers and six crew members making it out of a disabled plane within twenty seconds.)
The interior of the plane smelled like some kind of fumes, and the pilot was described as being in shock.
Although the English video says otherwise, the flight originated In Bahrain, and landed in Kochi.
What: Gulf Air Airbus A330-200 en route from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia to Bahrain Where: Muscat When: Feb 5th 2011 Who: 136 passengers Why: While en route, the pilot’s illness forced a landing at Muscat. The flight was completed by a replacement crew, after the captain was hospitalized after a heart attack.
What: Gulf Air Airbus A330-200 en route from Bahrain to Manila Where: Manila When: Oct 20th 2010 Why: Prior to landing in Manila, a Filipino electrician, Marlon Cueva, 36, of Lubang Island, Mindoro Occidental, who had been working in Abu Dhabi for three months was found with a cord around his neck in the lavatory. The news is reporting this alternately as a murder or a suicide. Although news reports say he was found inside the toilet at the rear of the plane by a flight steward after landing, other reports say the discovery was called in thirty minutes before landing. His wife and relatives were waiting at the airport for the plane to arrive, and they say there was no reason for him to commit suicide. Police are investigating if this could be a murder.
What: Gulf Air Airbus A330-200 en route from Bahrain Bahrain to Manila Where: Manila, Philippines When: Sep 12 2010 Who: abandoned infant Why: After passengers had exited, a six pound, nine ounce newborn boy was found in the lavatory. Doctors say the infant looks healthy and normal. Airport and medical staff fed, warmed, and took care of the infant, and collected money for clothes before social welfare took him.
A female passenger left behind a seat that was bloodstained; a search is being made for her. Speculation is that baby and mother are Filipino. The infant was tentatively named George Francis after the Gulf Air’s flight code.
Until we walk in someone’s shoes, we know little of what has happened nor why. I find the actions of the mother incomprehensible–which only makes it seem more obvious to me that she was probably not in her right mind and suffering some kind of distress.
Is it hypocritical of us to hope for compassion, discretion and kindness when we’re writing about this event? All that I can say is that I hope for the best possible outcome for both mother—who is surely in need of medical care—and child.
What: Gulf Air Airbus A319-100 en route from Athens Greece to Bahrain Where: Beirut Lebanon Rafik Hariri International Airport When: Jul 20th 2010 Who: 101 passengers Why: While en route at an altitude of 36000 feet, the plane developed a crack in the right windshield and diverted to Bahrain. They made a safe landing at 9:43 pm. Passengers are expecting at least a 24 hour delay.
What: Gulf Air Airbus 330 en route from Bahrain to the Philippines Where: en route over Vietnam When: July 12, 2010 Who: ten injured: seven passengers and three cabin crew Why: While en route, the plane encountered what the crew described as “air pockets,” resulting in turbulence that jolted the plane. Some individuals were tossed out of their seats; others suffered contusions. Those injured were hospitalized on landing in the Philippines.
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