KOZHIKODE, KERALA: Air India Express Boeing 737 from Dubai which is a coronavirus evacuation flight crashed down a slope in heavy rain on its second attempt to land in Kerala’s Kozhikode International Airport.
190 passengers and crew members were onboard the plane that crashed 35 feet off the table-top runway of Karipur airport.
20 people including the two pilots died in the devastating crash which saw the plane ripping into two pieces and hundreds were left severely injured.
Officials said that Investigating officers from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) will investigate the crash.
The weather conditions were not suitable enough for landing the flight at the time on July 7th night, pilots, Captain Deepak Sathe, the pilot-in-command, and his co-pilot Akhilesh Kumar, attempted two landings before the final one at the tabletop runway but aborted due to tailwind.
59-year-old Sathe was a former wing commander of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and had served at the force’s flight testing.
Surviving passengers of the flight hailed Sathe for saving their lives saying that he used his presence of mind and averted a fire after the accident.
The civil aviation ministry said in a statement that the flight was carrying 190 passengers and crew, including 10 infants.
According to the local residents, they heard a thud and rushed to the airport in Kerala’s Kozhikode.
The spot saw emergency medical services attending to the injured. Locals helped people off the plane and even saw children trapped under the debris.
Injured passengers were taken to various hospitals in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts.
Kerala’s health minister KK Shailaja said that several passengers' conditions were bad.
The locals also helped in providing other services such as food for the passengers who were admitted. The blood bank also saw large queues of people.