Kozhikode, August 07, 2020: Air India Express plane IX 1344 with 190 people on board from Dubai skidded off the runway while landing at Kerala’s Kozhikode on Friday, August 7, 2020. The crash was similar to the one which took place in Mangaluru on May 22, 2010.
Rescue operations are underway. 18 dead, 127 injured and 40 seriously injured in the crash took place at Karipur Airport. There were 174 passengers including 10 children along with 4 cabin crew members and 2 pilots. The pilot Captain Deepak Vasanth Sathe, was an ex-IAF Wing commander, who died in the accident.
The flight was part of the Vande Bharat programme that has been bringing back Indians from abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic.The incident took place amid very heavy rainfall in the area around 7:40 pm. A greater tragedy was averted as the plane did not catch fire.
The aircraft had fallen 35 ft into a deep gorge where its fuselage split into two, according to a statement issued by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Eyewitness also claimed to have seen fire and smoke rising from the remains.
The injured have been taken to hospitals near the airport, which is in Malappuram. First images from the site showed the aircraft completely broken up with debris strewn over the runway and beyond. According to sources, flights are usually diverted to nearby airports if the weather is bad at the Karipur airport, since it’s a tabletop airport. However, it wasn’t done on Friday.
MLA TV Ibrahim told the media that all ambulances from Kozhikode and Malappuram have been redirected to the airport. He added that while he has heard there were three casualties, he hasn’t been able to reach airport authorities to confirm the same.
CM Pinaray Vijayan has deputed A C Moideen, minister for local bodies, to oversee the rescue operations. AC Moideen has already left for Karipur from Thrisur. The CM also has deputed an IG of police to oversee the rescue operation. Health authorities have been instructed to provide all possible medical aid to those injured in the tragedy.
"PM Narendra Modi spoke to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan on phone about Karipur plane crash. CM informed PM that a team of officials including Kozhikode & Malappuram District Collectors & IG Ashok Yadav have arrived at the airport & participating in the rescue operation," Kerala CMO said in a statement.
A tabletop runway is a runway that is located on the top of a plateau or hill with one or both ends adjacent to a steep precipice which drops into a deep gorge. This type of runway creates an optical illusion which requires a very precise approach by the pilot.