At least 17 persons, including the pilot and co-pilot of the Air India Express aircraft, have been killed in the incident. Rescue operations are underway at the site. Several injured passengers have been rushed to nearby medical facilities.
At least 17 persons, including the pilot and co-pilot, have been killed as an Air India Express aircraft carrying 190 passengers (including crew), as part of the Vande Bharat repatriation operations, skidded off the tabletop runway and fell into a 30-feet valley, breaking into two pieces while landing at Kerala’s Kozhikode airport late Friday evening. Malappuram SP has confirmed the death toll. Several passengers have been injured and rushed to a medical facility. Initial reports say the incident took place at around 8.15 pm.
In a statement issued, the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said the “aircraft skidded off the runway, crashed into a wall and then fell into a valley, splitting into two.” The airline said the “Air India Express flight IX 1344 was a B-737 aircraft. There were 174 passengers, 10 infants, two pilots, and five cabin crew on board. There was no fire reported at the time of landing.”
Reacting to the accident, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “I have instructed the police and the fire force to take urgent action in the wake of the plane crash at the Kozhikode International airport (CCJ) in Karipur.” Read in Malayalam
HELPLINE NUMBERS: 0495-2376901 (Helpline number for relatives of passengers); 0483-2719493 (Control room number at Kozhikode airport); 0097165970303 (Control room number at Sharjah airport in UAE); 009710565463903 (Control room number at Dubai airport); 009710543090572 (Control room number at Dubai airport)
Preliminary images from the accident site show the aircraft split into two pieces, with debris all over the area, which is reportedly just below the runway. The incident happened when the flight — IX 1344 — was attempting to land at the airport at around 7.40 pm amid heavy rainfall and fell off the runway, to a slip road 34 feet below.
The incident brought back memories of the May 22, 2010 crash of Air India Express flight IX 812 at Mangaluru International Airport. In 2010, following landing errors by the pilots, the aircraft fell off the cliff at the end of the runway and burst into flames killing 158 of the 166 people on board.
Like Mangaluru, Kozhikode airport has a tabletop runway which was carved out of a hillock. Runways at these airports, which are located on hilltops, create the optical illusion of being at the same level as the plains below when a pilot comes in for landing.
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