New Delhi: Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi on Monday said rain and wind appear to be the reasons behind a Gulf Air plane skidding off the runway while landing at the International Airport in Kochi even as DGCA ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Ravi said initial reports suggest the incident took place due to the weather conditions and the runway is "long enough."

"DGCA has asked for a report. The report which has come to me is that it is a difficult place though the runway is long enough. The rains and winds were there. Then, it landed and slipped," he said.

He said seven persons were injured in the incident and that the runway would become operational soon.

"By God's grace, nothing much happened," he said.

137 passengers and six crew of the plane from Bahrain had a narrow escape when the Airbus A-320 skidded off the runway into a muddy area while landing at the airport.

Gulf Air plane veers off runway

At least seven passengers were injured as a Gulf Air plane from Bahrain with 137 passengers veered off the runway as it was landing at the international airport and went into a muddy area, damaging its nose wheel here on Monday.

One person, who suffered fractures, has been hospitalized while six other passengers with minor injuries were discharged after first aid, airport sources said.

As the nose wheel has been damaged, recovery was taking time due to which the runway has been closed for 10 hours, said Airport Director A C K Nair.

"We are trying our best to partially open the runway as early as possible," he said.

The Gulf Air plane (GF 270) with six crew deviated from the runway at 3.55 am on Monday morning. Some passengers panicked and jumped from the aircraft through the emergency door even before the ladder was brought to the plane, airport sources said.

Saithmohed (47) from Palakkad, who suffered some fractures, has been hospitalised.

The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) E K Bharat Bhushan has ordered an enquiry into the incident.

Flights to Kochi are being diverted to Thiruvananthapuram and Bangalore airports, Nair said.

While an Etihad flight from Kuwait, two Jet airways flights from Sharjah and Muscat have been diverted to Thiruvananthapuram, an Oman-Kochi flight has been sent to Bangalore.

Passengers are being brought by road to Kochi from Thiruvananthapuram.

The departure schedule of 3 flights -- belonging to Emirates, Air Arabia and Qatar flights, which were at the airport at the time of mishap, has been affected.

Bhushan said the runway has been blocked till 3 pm.

A Disabled Aircraft Retrieval Kit is being sent from Mumbai, he said. Bhushan said the reason behind the mishap was not yet known.

"There was visibility till 2,000 metres. Only after a preliminary enquiry, the cause of the mishap will be known," he said.

Heavy rains and strong winds have been lashing Kochi airport since Sunday night.

(Agencies)