Kerala Plane Crash: President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday said he was deeply distressed to hear about the tragic plane accident at Kerala’s Kozhikode airport and his thoughts and prayers were with the affected passengers, crew members and their families. Kovind said he spoke to Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and enquired about the situation there.
“Deeply distressed to hear about the tragic plane crash of Air India Express flight at Kozhikode, Kerala. Spoke to @KeralaGovernor Shri Arif Mohammed Khan and inquired about the situation. Thoughts and prayers with affected passengers, crew members and their families,” the President tweeted. At least 16 people were killed and several others injured when a Dubai-Calicut Air India Express flight with 191 passengers and crew on board overshot the runway at Kozhikode and fell into a valley, breaking into two portions, on Friday evening, police sources have said.
The Prime Minister tweeted, “Pained by the plane accident in Kozhikode. My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest.” He added that authorities are already at the spot and providing all possible assistance.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been rushed for evacuation and rescue work. Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted, “Distressed to learn about the tragic accident of Air India Express aircraft in Kozhikode, Kerala.”
A popular global flight tracker website indicates that the Air India Express plane that skidded on the runway at Kerala’s Kozhikode tried to land at least twice at the tabletop airport.
Flightradar24, a Swedish firm that shows real-time commercial flight tracking information on a map, indicated that the Boeing 737 NG that came from Dubai with 190 people on board tried to land twice.
Calicut airport is a “tabletop” airport, junior External Affairs Minister V Muraleedharan tweeted. A tabletop runway is a runway on the top of a plateau or hill with one or both ends adjacent to a steep elevation, which drops into a gorge. Such an airport presents a challenging condition for landing.
Fifteen people including both pilots died in the crash. Most on board have been evacuated and at least 50 injured, including 15 in serious condition, have been taken to hospital, authorities said.
There were 174 passengers, 10 infants, two pilots and four cabin crew members on board the aircraft.
The last major plane crash in India was in 2010 when an Air India Express Boeing 737-800 from Dubai to Mangalore overshot the runway and burst into flames. The crash killed 158 people and left eight survivors.
– with agency inputs.