August 8, 2020 By RJ

Air India Express flight with 190 passengers on board en route from Dubai skidded off the runway and split into two while landing at Kerala’s Kozhikode airport in heavy rain on Friday evening, leaving at least 17 persons dead, including the pilot. Kerala Minister KT Jaleel confirmed three deaths earlier, while BJP MP KJ Alphons said all passengers were evacuated.

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Kozhikode Update

  • 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 Air India — 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.
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  • 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.
  • Flight Radar 24 data showed the plane looping around the airport before attempting to land. Survivors told local television channels that the aircraft went up and down many times before landing and the disaster occurred after the plane had clearly touched the runway.
  •  IUML MLA from Kondottty, said many passengers were critical. “Two passengers, both women, have died. Some of the other passengers are in a serious shape and need to be shifted to other hospitals

How did the tragedy took place?

  • According to weather radar, the approach was for runway 28 but as the pilots faced difficulties, they went around twice and came from the opposite side on runway 10 and the plane crash-landed.
  • The officer said the aircraft was at full speed while landing and continued to the edge of the runway and fell over in the valley.
  • There were 184 passengers on the plane, including 10 babies and 4 cabin crew members. Many passengers were workers returning home after losing their jobs due to the pandemic.
  • A worse tragedy was averted because the plane did not catch fire after the crash.  In the heavy downpour, rescue personnel, including local policemen, pulled out people from the debris and jagged pieces of the plane’s fuselage scattered on a slope. Little children, wailing in fear, were found trapped under seats.

The Air India Express flight IX-1344 from Dubai to Calicut was operating under the Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate Indians stranded abroad because of coronavirus lockdowns. The Air India Express, a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India, has only B-737 aircraft in its fleet.