Air India Express plane skids & ‘falls off’ Kozhikode airport on landing

Air India Express plane skids & ‘falls off’ Kozhikode airport on landing

Air India Express flight fell off the runway and broke into two on landing. (File photo)

NEW DELHI: At least 16 people onboard an

Air India Express flight

from Dubai lost their lives when the Boeing 737 overshot the Kozhikode/Calicut tabletop runway on landing at 7.41 pm on Friday. The aircraft, with 190 people on board, “fell off” the runway into a 35-feet deep valley and broke into two.

According to flight tracking sites, the aircraft made two attempts to land in heavy rain before it did so in the third attempt when the accident happened. Both the pilots — Captain Deepak Vasant Sathe and Captain Akhilesh Kumar — have perished in the crash, AI Express has confirmed.

Captain Deepak Vasant Sathe

Captain Akhilesh Kumar

Sources say, at the time of the third attempted landing, winds speed was 15 knots and there was heavy rain. The aircraft (VT-AXH) — with 174 adult passengers,10 infants, 4 cabin crew and 2 pilots — was high on approach, possibly due to strong tail winds.

Live updates: Air India Express flight crashes on landing at Kozhikode

This Vande Bharat Mission repatriation flight landed beyond the touch down point on the runway due to which it could not stop in time and fell in a valley, breaking into two. The impact on the front section of the fuselage was very strong.

In a series of tweets, aviation minister H S Puri said: “Unfortunately, 16 people have lost their lives. I offer my heartfelt condolences to their next of kin and pray for speedy recovery of the injured…. The flight.. overshot the runway in rainy conditions and went down 35 feet into a slope before breaking up into two pieces.. A formal enquiry will be conducted by Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB).”

Deeply anguished & distressed at the air accident in Kozhikode. The @FlyWithIX flight number AXB-1344 on its way…

— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) 1596820382000

A meeting of the special crisis management group ended close to Friday midnight. Top officials of various aviation authorities like AAI, DGCA, AAIB, AI and AI Express left the aviation ministry HQ to take special flights to Calicut.

“Two investigation teams of professionals from AI, AAI and AAIB will leave for Kozhikode at 2 am and 5 am (Saturday). Everyone has now been rescued from the aircraft. Rescue operations are now complete,” Puri said.

Two investigation teams of professionals from @airindiain @AAI_Official & AAIB will leave for Kozhikode at 02.00 hr…

— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) 1596825061000

An Air India spokesperson said: “Air India Express flight IX 1344 operated by Boeing 737 aircraft from Dubai to Calicut overshot the runway at Kozhikode at 7.41 pm Friday. No fire reported at the time of landing. Rescue operations are on and passengers are being taken to hospital for medical care.”

While, senior BJP leader from Kerala K J Alphons tweeted: “Second tragedy of the day in Kerala:

Air India Express

skids off the run way at Kozhikode, front portion splits , pilot dies and lots of passengers injured . All passengers evacuated. Very lucky the aircraft didn’t catch fire.”

Second tragedy of the day in Kerala : Air India Express skids off the run way at Kozhikode, front portion splits ,…

— Alphons KJ (@alphonstourism) 1596813252000

An AI Express official said the aircraft landed in heavy rain.

In Video:Air India plane skids off runway in Kerala’s Kozhikode

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