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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 July 2005, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK
Lucky escape for Mumbai jumbo jet
Picture of a plane taken by passenger David Vaughan-Watkins
The plane stopped at the end of the runway
An Air India Boeing 747 carrying more than 300 passengers has skidded off the runway in the monsoon-hit Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay).

An airline spokesman said all the passengers on board the aircraft were safe and had been taken off the plane.

The number of people killed in record monsoon rains in and around Mumbai has now risen to 853.

Rescuers are still searching for survivors, and authorities are racing against time to prevent diseases.

The Air India jumbo was landing after arriving from the southern city of Bangalore, when it skidded off the runway into soft ground.

"It was raining in Mumbai at the time and it is too soon to say whether it was the fault of the pilot or runway conditions that caused the plane to go off the runway," Air India spokesman Jitendra Bhargava told the BBC.

India's aviation authorities and the airline company have ordered an investigation.

More rain forecast

Rescue workers in the city are still searching for survivors after the heaviest rainfall in decades.

Mumbai monsoon

Others are removing bodies from under the debris of shantytowns flattened after a hill collapsed over it in heavy rains.

City officials say they are keeping an eye on the weather after more showers were forecast.

"The situation is improving.... But increased rainfall activity from this morning is worrying us," an official is quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Outside Mumbai, many bodies are yet to be recovered from villages in the Raigadh district, one of the worst affected areas, as rescue workers are finding it difficult to reach the area.

The federal government has given Maharashtra 7bnn rupees ($162m) in aid.

Rumour-mongering

On Friday, police arrested 17 people for allegedly spreading rumours that Mumbai was going to be hit by a tsunami.

Twenty-two people were killed in a shantytown on Thursday after panic led to a stampede.

A second false rumour on Friday of an approaching cyclone forced Mumbai police to use loudspeakers to tell residents to ignore it.

Weather officials said the rainfall in Mumbai on Tuesday - more than 65cm (26 inches) - was the heaviest recorded in India's history, causing havoc in a city known for its inadequate infrastructure.




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See the devastation caused by the floods




SEE ALSO:
Maharashtra rains leave many dead
26 Jul 05 |  South Asia
Gujarat monsoon floods kill many
01 Jul 05 |  South Asia
Flood shuts India power project
28 Jun 05 |  South Asia
Indian villagers tame floods
28 May 04 |  South Asia
India's river plans spark furore
19 Aug 03 |  South Asia


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