Vande Bharat Mission Air India flight from UAE skids off runway, breaks into two parts
Kerala : An Air India Express flight with 190 passengers on board overshot the runway and fell 50 metres away from the end of the runway at the Kozhikode airport. By the time flight came to an halt, it was broken into two pieces.
20 people, including pilot and co-pilot, have been killed in the accident, which is believed to be the worst in aviation section in last decade.
The Boeing 737 jet, on a Vande Bharat mission as flight AIX 1344 from Dubai, was bringing in Indians who were stranded abroad due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The plane crash was reported around 7:40 pm, at that time it was raining in the city. The accident drives similarities to the 2010 Mangalore airport crash when a plane, also an Air India Express Boeing 737, overshot a tabletop runway and crashed nose-first into the ground – the last time there were as many or more people killed in a plane crash.
“It was a Dubai to Kozhikode Air India Express flight. It made an over-speeding landing, overshot the runway, and fell into a valley. The aircraft has broken into two parts but it is being reported that it has not caught fire, which increases chances of rescue. Rescue teams are on spot and we are yet to get final figures on casualties,” said Arun Kumar, chief of directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA).
Among the traveling passengers, 174 were adult, 10 infants, two pilots, and four crew members. Among the 20 casualties were four children, officials said.
“We are in touch with local authorities... Relief teams from Air India and AAI are being immediately dispatched from Delhi and Mumbai. All efforts being made to help passengers. A formal enquiry will be conducted by Aircraft Accident Investigation Board (AAIB),” civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
“I have asked minister for local self government AC Moideen to rush to the airport and coordinate rescue efforts. It is another shocking incident,” said chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on a day when the state was also hit by a landslide that killed 15 people.