About 20 passengers and crew of an Emirates flight from Dubai to Kochi were injured on Sunday when the aircraft ferrying 364 people encountered severe turbulence while flying over Bangalore region shortly before landing at the airport in Kochi.
Immediately after the incident at 08.50 am, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation launched an inquiry into the incident and grounded the plane.
The Boeing aircraft EK530 with 350 passengers and 14 crewmembers on board encountered a weather cloud near Bangalore. A short period of heavy turbulence prior to descent into India caused minor injuries to about 20 persons, Emirates said in a statement.
"An inquiry has been ordered into the incident. DGCA is carrying out air safety investigation. The aircraft will leave the country only after it is certified," Directorate General of Civil Aviation Nazim Zaidi told PTI in New Delhi.
He said officials have started recording the statements of the injured, cabin crew and pilots as part of investigations into the incident.
One of the passengers, Biju Thomas (40) has been admitted to the Little Flower hospital at nearby Angamally with shoulder dislocation. A child was among those injured.
Sources said the pilots requested for medical assistance while landing at the International Airport in Kochi.
Most of the passengers in the flight were in a "state of shock and looked worried", the sources said.
About seven passengers were brought to the Amrita Medical Investigation room at the airport. Some had injuries on the scalp, eyebrows, pain in the neck and shoulders.
The plane was cruising at 35000ft when the flight experienced a short period of heavy turbulence. The drop in altitude was minor - a descent of 200ft -- and the aircraft landed safely, the statement said.
Dr Rahul Thambi of the Amrita Hospital went inside the aircraft and gave first aid to 20 passengers, sources told PTI.
Two foreigners -- Flavio Moreira (41) from Barbodos, who complained of some pain in the shoulder, was advised to get an X-ray done and her friend Lourival Auguhsto DO Santos (45) said he had pain in the neck and chest, Dr S N Nair, duty doctor of Amrita who treated the patients, said.
Both the passengers were given first aid and have left for Coimbatore.
Elsy Antony (40) received stitches for an eyebrow injury while Tina Shilby (26) suffered a scalp wound. A pregnant woman, Mary, (29) reported giddiness. Most of the passengers were discharged, Nair said.
A passenger, who was travelling with his family, said "oxygen masks fell down. We all got scared. This is a re-birth. Many passengers fell down from their seats".
Meanwhile, the flight's return journey has been cancelled. The passengers booked on this flight would be taken by another aircraft, the airline said.