Bodies of 104 victims of Mangalore air crash identified

Mangalore: Bodies of 104 victims of the Air India Express plane crash have been identified and handed over to relatives, a top official said on Sunday.

"A total of 104 bodies have been identified and handed over to relatives. Fifty four bodies are yet to be identified," Karnataka DGP Ajai Kumar Singh said at the crash site here.

Earlier, Deputy Inspector General of Mangalore Police, Gopal B Hosur had said 115 bodies had been identified so far.

Singh said DGCA officials are yet to recover the Cockpit Voice Recorder, commonly known as the black box, of the ill-fated aircraft, which crashed here yesterday killing 158 passengers and crew. Of the 166 on board, eight people survived the accident.

Asked if the Boeing, the manufacturer of the aircraft, has sent a team to assist the investigation, Singh said he was not aware of it.

The Air India Express flight crashed soon after landing at Bajpe airport here yesterday, after overshooting the runway and plunged down a deep ravine.

Out of the eight survivors, four received minor injuries while three sustained major injuries. One person also escaped unhurt.

A majority of the victims were Keralites. The entire six-member crew including the two pilots perished in the accident. The passengers comprised 105 men, 32 women, four infants and 19 other children.

An Airport Authority of India (AAI) official said there was no distress call from the pilots when they got clearance for landing the plane, about seven km away from touchdown.

The air mishap was the first major plane crash in the country in nearly a decade. 61 people were killed when a Boeing 737 aircraft of domestic airline Alliance Air, crashed into a residential area near Patna airport in July 2000.

The country's worst aviation accident occurred in 1996 when two passenger planes collided in mid-air near New Delhi with the loss of all 349 on board both flights.