This is the peace of shocking ordeal of one of the passenger onboard on Jet Airways flight 9W 2374 (Goa Mumbai) which got skidded on the runways while taking off and veered around 360 degrees 200 meters away from the main runways before coming to halt. “There was a Panic onboard as the plane got bumpy and veered 360 degrees in about 200 meters off the runway in the wee hours of Wednesday Morning,” narrated one of the passengers on board. According to him despite being supremely lucky, all the passengers were misfortunate being on the board of flight 9W 2374 which was heading towards Mumbai from Goa’s lone Dabolim airport. Here is the complete ordeal of the passenger who was traveling on the same flight on that day.
“The ill-fated Jet Airways flight 9W 2374 that skidded off the runway, turned violently into rocky fields and whose engine caught fire while we were still inside. I can safely say that my life flashed before my eyes as the emergency lights turned on while we were trying to make sense of what was happening on the aircraft as it swerved and hit the rocky ground for nearly 3km until it halted and caught fire. Instead of being helpful and calm, the Jet Airways hostesses were screaming and yelling like little girls, a few of whom shockingly didn’t know how to open the emergency exits and had to be assisted by passengers to open the doors before the emergency slides opened up,” He narrated.
According to him, During the evacuation process itself, it was hard to find any visible crew to give us proper instructions. Some of them appeared to have evacuated the plane first. I don’t know whether this is standard airline protocol or not, but I know I panicked when I couldn’t find anyone around when the engine caught fire – at this point, we all thought that the plane was going to explode.
“When I managed to get out of the plane in a state of panic, and as I was looking for Vernon (who was seated right in front while I was in the back) outside the aircraft, I noticed an Air hostess behind me screaming frantically – “Amit” “Amit” she called – looking for her boyfriend/husband. While she’s naturally human and wanted to look for her loved one, it was clear that she was disinterested in taking care of passenger needs until she found him. Shortly after, while we moved away from the aircraft, we noticed another Airhostess crying, while the other few were consoling her – again with an apparent lack of concern for us passengers on board,” he said.
When we were shifted to the bus to take us back to the airport, the way the Jet Airways crew conducted the head count was utterly ridiculous. They stuffed us into a bus like a herd of sheep and continuously lost count of our numbers. This futile task wasted a significant amount of time when they could have conducted a role call for all passengers at the airport with proper names (instead of just heads). This was important because some passengers from the next SpiceJet flight may have mixed up with us Jet passengers ultimately triggering a completely wrong head count but how would the Jet Airways crew know when they were running around like headless chickens? Oh wait, the passengers had to give them a more appropriate solution for counting people on board!
The attitude of the Jet Airways crew was abysmal and apathetic, to say the least. Pregnant ladies and children were made to wait at least three hours until some food and water were provided. And what a meal it was – cold samosas, mayo-filled sandwich bread, and sugar-infused coffee. We didn’t complain – we were just grateful to be alive at this point. The crew’s infamous response to our queries, “ We will let you know” caused widespread anxiety, as did the complete lack of communication and missing management team on regular occasions. Yes, when we needed some queries answered, management was hard to find or if they were, we were greeted with the same “we will let you know” statement that I have now come to dread. On the other hand, low-cost carrier SpiceJet communicated clearly to its passengers and offered them immediate hotel accommodation until the runway re-opened. I’ll take budget over full-cost any day if that’s the case.
The cherry on the cake came when we were promised a seat on the 2 pm flight from Goa to Mumbai (once our luggage was returned to us safely), only to find out that Jet Airways had prioritised their later passengers on the earlier flight and told us that they could only accommodate us on the 2.45 pm flight. How could they possible prioritize passengers who arrived just an hour before with us (people who have been at the airport since 3 am, which was nearly 12 hours by the time it came to check-in again)? We had to fight with the staff whose complete lack of sympathy was apparent, constantly asking us to understand their tough situation.
UNTIL YOU’VE SAT ON A PLANE THINKING YOU Was GOING TO DIE IN A BLAZE OF FIRE, DON’T TELL US TO UNDERSTAND YOUR SITUATION! We eventually left Goa at 5.30pm – nearly 14 hours after our ordeal took place, begging and begging to be put on the next possible flight to get out of Goa – exhausted, angry, sad, shocked and downright appalled at the poor treatment vetted out to us – the passengers of the ill-fated flight 9W 2374 on 27th Dec 2016.
The shock take-off continues to remain a mystery, but it reflects clear negligence from the airline – perhaps in the form of a pilot error (enjoying the Goan times a little too much?) or a maintenance error (engineers not trained to do their jobs?). Either way, it’s apparent that Jet Airways has employed staff they should be utterly ashamed of – staff who had no clue of what safety protocols to follow. Shame on you Goa ground staff and air hostesses (I’ll refrain from any comments on the pilots until we know more) – you made a bad situation horribly worse!
I was a fan of Jet Airways for a long time previously, but after this, I don’t think I want to look at another aircraft from this airline for a long time to come. For now, I’m thankful to God that we are alive, safe and well. THE MEDIA PICTURES DON’T REFLECT THE TRUE EXTENT OF HOW FAR THE PLANE TRAVELLED BEFORE IT STOPPED. THE ROAD NEAR THE HALTED PLANE IS A DEAD END AND NOT THE RUNWAY – 2O0 METRES MORE AND WE WOULD HAVE CRASHED INTO A WALL AND HOUSING SOCIETIES.
Disclaimer: The above story is taken from the social media post which is related to the Jet Airways plane skidded from the runways and landed in the nearby ground with one of the engine supposedly catching fire. The Editor and New Correspondent of Goa Prism do not validate the truth in the content and shall not be responsible for any lapses in the same. This article has been made available for the purpose of public awareness and scrutiny.