- Air India Express flight from Dubai with 190 on board overshot runway
- Boeing 737 fell off 35-feet slope after skidding because of heavy rain
- More than 100 injured have been taken to Kozhikode, Malappuram hospitals
At least 18 people were killed after an Air India Express plane with 190 on board from Dubai skidded off the runway and broke in two while landing at Kerala's Kozhikode on Friday amid heavy rain. Among those killed were the two pilots of Flight IX-1344
All on board were evacuated after a nearly three-hour operation and at least 112 injured were taken to hospitals in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, authorities said.
There were 174 passengers, 10 Infants, two pilots and four cabin crew members on board the aircraft.
The flight was part of the Vande Bharat programme that has been bringing back Indians from abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Television images from the site showed part of the fuselage of the Boeing 737 jet ripped apart with debris strewn all over.
The incident took place amid very heavy rainfall in the area around 7:40 pm. A greater tragedy was averted as the plane did not catch fire. Emergency services personnel were seen working in the dark and spraying the wreckage with water.
According to flight-tracking website FlightRadar24, the aircraft circled the airport several times and made two attempts to land.
Civil Aviation Minster Hardeep Singh Puri said the plane overshot the runway in rainy conditions and went down 35 feet into a slope before breaking up into two pieces. A formal inquiry will be conducted by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB), he said.
We are in touch with local authorities. State police have reported 11 deaths. Relief teams from Air India & AAI are being immediately dispatched from Delhi & Mumbai. All efforts being made to help passengers.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) August 7, 2020
A formal enquiry will be conducted by AAIB.
The Kozhikode airport, carved on top of a hill, is one of Kerala's most prominent international terminals and handles a significant number of flights from abroad, Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor told NDTV.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "Pained by the plane accident in Kozhikode. My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest. Spoke to Kerala CM @vijayanpinarayi Ji regarding the situation. Authorities are at the spot, providing all assistance to the affected."
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted:
Update on Kozhikode #crash— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) August 7, 2020
Malappuram collector has informed that the rescue operations at the site have been completed.
Air india flight AXB1344 (@DXB to CCJ) had 190 passengers.
They all have been transferred to hospitals in Malappuram and Kozhikode.
Meanwhile, an urgent meeting was called by the Civil Aviation Ministry in New Delhi, news agency ANI reported. Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Director-General, officials of the ministry, Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Air India Express reps attended the meeting.
Kerala has been hammered by heavy rainfall through the day that triggered landslides and left at least 15 people dead.
Around 50 others are still feared trapped in debris after a landslide in the hilly Idukki district early Friday.
Helplines: Air India Express - 1800 2222 71, Airport Control Room - 0483 2719493, Malappuram Collectorate - 0483 2736320, Kozhikode Collectorate - 0495 2376901.