Kozhikode: The pilot in command of the crashed Air India Express flight Captain Deepak Vasant Sathe, who was among those killed in the accident, was one of the most experienced commanders with more than 10,000 flying hours and had landed the aircraft at the Karipur airport runway at least 27 times in the past, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Saturday (August 8, 2020).
"The aircraft was captained and operated by one of our most distinguished, experienced commanders, Captain Deepak Vasant Sathe. In fact, the Captain had more than 10,000 hours of flying experience. He has landed on this very air piece, I think as many as 27 times including this year", Puri said.
The Union Minister said thi while speaking to mediapersons after arriving here to take stock of the crash of the Dubai-Kozhikode AIE flight with 190 people on board on Friday night that left 18 people dead and scores injured and the relief measures.
The Minister appreciated the local airport authority officials, all other agencies and local people who participated in the rescue operations soon after the accident which also killed co-pilot Akhilesh Kumar. Puri said they all acted in an exemplary manner.
Puri, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and several Kerala cabinet ministers had earlier arrived at the Karipur International Airport on Saturday where the Air India Express flight crashed on Friday night.
Soon after visiting the accident site, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan visited the injured who have been admitted to hospitals in Malappuram and Kozhikode.
Talking to reporters, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan said that 18 people have died in the crash which includes 14 adults and 4 children. He further informed that 149 injured are undergoing treatment in hospital and 23 people have been discharged.
Meanwhile, the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder of the ill-fated aircraft was recovered from the site of the crash, a top Directorate General of Civil Aviation official said. Both "black boxes" have been found, the official said.
This information will help the investigation team to find out how the plane crashed, the DGCA official said.
The Air India Express plane, which was repatriating Indians stranded from Dubai due to the COVID-19 pandemic, overshot the runway of the Calicut International Airport in heavy rain near the southern city of Kozhikode on Friday.
The Boeing 737 aircraft overshot the tabletop runway at the airport here while landing in heavy rains and fell into a valley 35 feet below and broke into two portions, killing at least 18 people.