The flight was operating under the Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate Indians.
All those who are involved in the rescue efforts in Kerala after an Air India Express flight skidded off a tabletop runway at Kozhikode airport late Friday evening will be tested for coronavirus, state’s Health Minister KK Shailaja said this morning, urging them to “go into self-quarantine as a precaution”. Eighteen people, including both pilots, were killed as the flight overshot the runway and the plane broke into pieces.
“As a part of precaution, all those who have participated in the rescue operation should go under self-quarantine. Covid tests of all of them will be done,” the 63-year-old minister said.
The state’s health department is making a list of those who took part, she said. “All those who are involved in the rescue efforts should inform the state health department. Either contact the toll free numbers – 1056, 0471 2552056; or control rooms – 0483 2733251, 2733252, 2733253, 0495 2376063, 2371471, 2373901,” the Health Minister urged.
Eighteen people, including both pilots, were killed when the Air India Express flight IX-1344, a Boeing 737 aircraft, from Dubai to Calicut overshot runway at 7.41 pm on Friday. The flight was operating under the Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate Indians stranded abroad because of coronavirus lockdown.
Reached Kozhikode to take stock of the status & implementation of relief measures after the air accident last evening.
Will hold consultations with senior civil aviation officials & professionals. pic.twitter.com/wyjFkbaJrH
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) August 8, 2020
There were 184 passengers on the plane, including 10 babies and 4 cabin crew members; 127 have been hospitalised in 13 hospitals in and around Kozhikode.
Many passengers were workers returning home after losing their jobs due to the pandemic.
Today, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Air India Chairman and Managing Director Rajiv Bansal, Union Minister V Muralidharan visited the accident site to take a stock of the situation.
Hon’ble Governor of Kerala Shri Arif Mohammad Khan visited the Incident site at Karipur Airport to oversee rescue and relief operations seen here with CMD Air India Rajiv Bansal. pic.twitter.com/mpgG06Qa3I
— Air India (@airindiain) August 8, 2020
An Air India special assistance team also reached Kerala today to coordinate relief and counselling for families members of all those who were on board. The special assistance team, called “Angels of Air India”, were flown from Mumbai to coordinate relief and counsel the injured passengers as well with the family members of the injured as well as dead passengers, Air India Express said.
The plane crash comes at a time when India, which has the third highest Covid caseload in the world, is fighting the novel coronavirus pandemic. The tally surged to 20.88 lakh cases this morning.
Kerala, which reported India’s first patient on January 30, has logged over 31,000 cases.