Air India jet breaks in two in Kerala killing 16

Air India jet breaks in two in Kerala killing 16

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Media captionAftermath of the Kerala plane crash shows the plane broken in two

An Air India Express plane with 191 people on board has crashed at an airport in the southern state of Kerala, killing at least 16 people, officials say.

The aircraft, en route from Dubai, skidded off the runway and broke in two at Calicut airport upon landing, India’s aviation authority said.

Rescue efforts are under way, with emergency services at the scene.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “pained by the plane accident”.

MK Raghavan, a lawmaker from Calicut, told the BBC at least 16 people died in the crash.

Most people on board the Boeing 737 jet have been evacuated, with at least 35 of them taken to hospital with injuries, authorities said.

The airline said there were 184 passengers – including 10 children and seven crew members, of which two were pilots – on board flight IX-1344 when it crashed at Calicut, also known as Kozhikode.

The flight was being operated by the government to repatriate Indians stuck overseas during the coronavirus crisis.

Image copyright
Kaviyoor Santosh BNI

Image caption

The aircraft skidded off the runway at Calicut airport, breaking into two pieces

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said the plane fell into a valley and broke in two after skidding off the end of the runway. No fire was reported at the time of landing, the aviation regulator said.

Images carried by Indian media show the aircraft broken in two pieces, with people searching through the wreckage.

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Reuters

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The plane reportedly overshot the runway upon landing amid heavy rain

“Distressed to learn about the tragic accident of Air India Express aircraft in Kozhikode, Kerala. Have instructed NDRF [National Disaster Response Force] to reach the site at the earliest and assist with the rescue operations,” Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah tweeted.

The incident happened at around 19:00 local time (14:30 BST) amid heavy rainfall in the region.

There have been flooding and landslides, as India’s monsoon season reaches its peak.


Earlier on Friday, dozens of people were feared dead in Kerala’s Idukki district after monsoon-season floods triggered a landslide.

Plane crashes have happened before during India’s monsoon season, which lasts from June to September and wreaks havoc across South Asia every year.

In May 2010, 158 people died when an Air India Express flight overshot Mangalore airport runway and crashed. A similar incident happened in July 2019 in Mangalore, prompting an inquiry.

Are you in the area? Did you witness the crash? If it is safe to do so please get in touch. Email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

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