Kerala plane crash: 16 dead, including both pilots, after plane splits in two

Updated: 08 August, 2020 01:04 IST | mid-day online correspondent | kozhikode

The plane skidded off the tabletop runway and fell into a 50 feet valley breaking into two portions while landing, police sources said

Rescue operations are underway. Pic/ANI Twitter
Rescue operations are underway. Pic/ANI Twitter

Sixteen people were killed and several others injured when a Dubai-Calicut Air India Express flight with 191 passengers and crew on board overshot the runway here and fell into a valley, breaking into two portions, on Friday evening, police sources said. Those on board included 174 passengers, 10 infants, two pilots and five crew members.

The mishap occurred at 7.41 pm. No fire was reported at the time of landing, an Air India Express statement said. Police said 16 people, including both the pilots, were killed in the accident. The injured persons have been admitted to various hospitals in Kozhikode and Malappuram.

The plane skidded off the tabletop runway and fell into a 50 feet valley breaking into two portions while landing, police sources said.

First images from the site showed the aircraft completely broken up with debris strewn over the runway and beyond. The incident took place amid very heavy rainfall in the area when the flight -- IX 1344 – landed.

According to information received, the passengers sitting in the front row have been seriously injured.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said police and fire force personnel have been instructed to take urgent action. “I have also directed the officials to make necessary arrangements for rescue and medical support,” said Vijayan.

The Chief Minister has deputed state minister AC Moideen to coordinate the rescue operations. An IG of police has been deputed to oversee the rescue operations. Fire and Rescue teams of two districts - Kozhikode and Malappuram - have been engaged.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Kerala CM on phone. CM informed PM that a team of officials including Kozhikode and Malappuram district collectors and IG Ashok Yadav have arrived at the airport and participating in the rescue operation, said Kerala CMO.

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.”

Plane crash in Kerala

HELPLINE NUMBERS

Kozhikode Collector Seeram Sambasiva Rao said, “Relatives of passengers onboard Air India Express Flight (IX 1344) that crashed at Karipur International Airport, can contact the following Helpline Number for enquiries - 0495 – 2376901.”

Consulate General of India, Dubai, said, “Air India Express Flight No IX 1344 from Dubai to Calicut skidded off the runway. We will keep you updated as and when we receive further updates. Our helplines - 056 546 3903, 0543090572, 0543090572, 0543090575.”

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) orders a detailed inquiry into the matter. "The visibility was 2,000 metre due to heavy rain, after landing Runway 10, continue running to the end of the runway and fall down in the valley and aircraft broke down in two pieces," DGCA officials said.

Issuing a statement, Air India Express said, “We regret that there has been an incident regarding our aircraft VT GHK, operating IX 1344 DXB CCJ. Due to crash landing of the flight, it may affect the network but Vande Bharat Mission continues.”

An urgent meeting called by Civil Aviation Ministry is underway at Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan in New Delhi. DGCA Director-General and officials of the ministry, Airport Authority of India and Air India Express are in the meeting.

Air India Express has only Boeing 737 planes in its fleet.

Deeply distressed, tweets Ram Nath Kovind

President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted, “Deeply distressed to hear about the tragic plane crash of Air India Express flight at Kozhikode, Kerala. Spoke to @KeralaGovernor Shri Arif Mohammed Khan and inquired about the situation. Thoughts and prayers with affected passengers, crew members and their families."

Distressed to learn about tragic accident, tweets Amit Shah 

Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted, “Distressed to learn about the tragic accident of Air India Express aircraft in Kozhikode, Kerala. I have instructed NDRF to reach the site at the earliest and assist with the rescue operations.”

Deeply distressed, says S Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted, “Deeply distressed to hear about the Air India Express tragedy at Kozhikode. Prayers are with the bereaved families and those injured. We are ascertaining further details.”

Devastating news, tweets Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted, "Devastating news from Kozhikode, Kerala. I am deeply anguished by the loss of lives due to an accident carrying several passengers on Air India flight. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured."

Shocked at devastating news, tweets Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "Shocked at the devastating news of the plane mishap in Kozhikode. Deepest condolences to the friends and family of those who died in this accident. Prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured."

Tragic day for Kerala, says Shashi Tharoor

Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted, “Tragic day for Kerala. First the deaths in Munnar & now this: I hear both pilots have died. Hope rescue efforts will succeed in saving all the passengers #KozhikodeAirCrash.”

Deeply anguished & distressed, tweets Hardeep Singh Puri

Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted, Deeply anguished & distressed at the air accident in Kozhikode. The @FlyWithIX  flight number AXB-1344 on its way from Dubai to Kozhikode with 191 persons on board, overshot the runway in rainy conditions & went down 35 ft. into a slope before breaking up into two pieces.”

In another tweet, 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.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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Deeply distressed to hear about the tragic plane crash of Air India Express flight at Kozhikode, Kerala. Spoke to

Shri Arif Mohammed Khan and inquired about the situation. Thoughts and prayers with affected passengers, crew members and their families.

First Published: 07 August, 2020 20:49 IST

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