Kozhikode, Aug 8 (IANS) A large group of top political personalities, including Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan , and various of his cabinet colleagues will arrive at the Karipur international airport on Saturday.
Late on Friday, an Air India Express flight, returning from Dubai under the Vande Bharat mission, crashed at the “table top” Kozhikode airport leaving 18 of the 190 people aboard dead, including pilot, Capt D.V. Sathe and his co-pilot Akhilesh Kumar.
While the lone Union Minister from Kerala, Minister of State for External Affairs who hails from Kozhikode has already arrived. A full team of the Director General of Civil Aviation is also here to take part in the crash probe.
State Minister of Local Self Government A.C. Moideen who reached the accident site told the media that 18 people have lost their lives and the condition of a few of the passengers who are currently in the hospital is reported to be serious.
a total of 123 people had suffered injuries were under treatment at various hospitals in Malappuram and Kozhikode districts.
State Health Minister K.K.Shailaja said that Covid tests would be conducted on the dead and then the autopsy would be conducted. “Since its Covid times, in the best interest of all, numerous people who took part in the rescue operation will have to undergo Covid test. All will have to cooperate in this, as this is the need of the hour,” said Shailaja.
According to information now received there was trouble with the landing gear and that’s why the experienced pilot after aborting his first attempt to land, lifted the aircraft and flew for about 15 minutes to empty the fuel tank and then landed.
Had the veteran pilot not risen to the occasion, the tragedy would have been larger.
The plane skidded off the runaway as it landed on its second attempt amid heavy rain, plunged 35 feet into the valley below, and broke into two pieces.
Following the accident, which occurred at 7.41 p.m., the Kozhikode airport has been closed and the flights scheduled to land there have been diverted to Kannur airport, about 80 km away.