KOZHIKODE: At least 17 people including both pilots have died and more than 100 injured when a plane with 190 people on board coming from Dubai met with an accident at around 7:40 pm Karipur airport in Kozhikode on Friday (August 7) evening.
Meanwhile, search and rescue operations at the accident site have been completed and all the injured have been sent to various hospitals in Mallapuram and Kozhikode. The Emergency Command Centre was immediately activated after the news of the accident. The Emergency Response Team members and GO Teams were sent to the accident scene to render necessary help to assist the emergency services and local authorities.
Air India Express Dubai-Kozhikode IX-1344 flight, carrying 190 people including 10 infants on board from Dubai under the Vande Bharat Mission, skidded off the runway at Karipur Airport in Kozhikode at 7:41 pm on Friday and dropped into a 35-feet deep gorge.
"Total 190 persons were on board. Visibility was 2,000 metre and rains were reported. Aircraft was at full speed while landing and overshot the runway 10. It continued running to the end of runway and fell down in the valley and broke down into two pieces," the DGCA said.
Both, Captain Deepak Sathe, a former Indian Air Force pilot, who was flying the aircraft and his co-pilot Akhilesh Kumar, died in the tragic incident. Initial reports suggested that the pilots attempted two landings before the final landing at the tabletop runway at Kozhikode. Two landings were aborted by pilots due to tailwind.
"According to weather radar, the approach was for runway 28 but as pilots found difficulties they went around twice and came from the opposite side on runway 10 and the plane crash-landed and skidded off the runway," a senior investigator from DGCA said. After landing at Runway 10, the Boeing 737 aircraft continued to run to the end of the runway and fell into the valley and broke into three portions, a DGCA statement said.
The maximum impact was felt at the front of the aircraft.
"We pray for the wellbeing of passengers and crew and will keep you updated as and when we receive further updates. Our helplines +97156 5463903, +971543090572, +971543090572, +971543090575," Dr. Aman Puri, Consul General of India said. He also said the Indian consulate will be available for any assistance it may be able to render at this time of grief.
"We convey our deepest condolences to the family members of those who have been injured in this tragic incident, and we are obtaining more information from the relevant authorities on the ground at Calicut International Airport," Puri said.
He also informed that two investigation teams from Air India, Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) will leave for Kozhikode on Saturday to probe the Kozhikode crash.