Air India Express Plane Crash Updates: Responding to criticism that the Kozhikode air crash occurred as landings were allowed despite several warnings, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri urged his fellow politicians and media to exercise patience, saying that the accident was being probed and the findings will be made public.
At least 149 people are in various hospitals of Malappuram and Kozhikode, out of which 23 are in critical condition, said chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan during the press meet at Kozhikode Medical College.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced Rs 10 lakh interim relief for the kin of each of the deceased, Rs 2 lakh for the seriously injured and Rs 50,000 for those who suffered minor injuries.
After the Digital Field Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder were retrieved on Saturday, DGCA chief Arun Kumar said that it was too early to comment whether the plane crash at Kozhikode International Airport happened due to a technical glitch or a human error.
An Air India special assistance team has reached Kerala to meet the families of the 190 people on board the Air India Express flight.
Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau has recovered Digital Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder from the aircraft. These will be sent to Delhi for further investigation.
Two passengers who were on board the Air India Express flight that crashed at Kozhikode International Airport on Friday have tested positive for COVID-19, according to News18.
At least 18 were killed after a Dubai-Calicut Air India Express flight carrying over 190 passengers, including infants and crew members skidded off the tabletop runway at Kerala's Kozhikode International airport on Friday evening.
Both the pilot and the co-pilot were killed in the crash when the aircraft fell into a 35-feet-deep valley before splitting into two parts. Four crew members are safe, Air India Express said in a statement.
According to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, at 127 were admitted to hospitals and others have been released.
The aviation minister said a formal inquiry will be conducted by Aircraft Accident Investigation Board (AAIB).
"Our task would have been much more difficult had the plane caught fire," Puri told ANI.
Of the injured, at least 20 are in a critical condition, with some receiving spinal cord injuries due to the impact, Hindustan Times quoted hospital sources as saying.
A DGCA probe team arrived in Kozhikode along with junior minister of external affairs V Muraleedhran early on Saturday.
The Boeing 737 aircraft was coming from Dubai and was operating under India's Vande Bharat mission, an initiative to bring back stranded Indians from foreign countries.
The flight was attempting to land in a bad weather when it overshot the runway around 7.40 pm on Friday and fell off the embankment.
Speaking to India Today, Puri said, "Weather conditions being what they are, I'm told the aircraft couldn't be brought to a halt. As a tabletop airport, it imposes a challenge. There was a 30-foot drop to the ground below. Fortunately, the plane that broke into two didn't catch fire."
Craft was at 'full speed'
Puri will arrive at Kozhikode on Saturday afternoon.
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) told news agency ANI that the Dubai-Kozhikode aircraft was at "full speed".
In a statement, the DGCA said, "Visibility was 2,000 metres and there was heavy rain." It said the flight, IX-1344, shot runway 10.
The Kozhikode International airport, is known for its 'tabletop' runway - a runway located on the top of hills/terrain. Called as of the riskiest landings, the runway is raised up quite a bit over its surroundings with deep gorges at both ends.
The pilot of the flight was a former Air Force pilot who also flew Airbus 310 for Air India before moving to Air India Express flying the Boeing 737. Wing Commander Deepak Sathe has won 'Sword of Honour' at AFA, was accomplished fighter pilot, and was HAL test pilot too, according to CNN-News18.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and governor Arif Mohammad Khan will visit Kozhikode on Saturday to meet those injured in the flight crash, ANI reported.
"Two special relief flights have been arranged from Delhi and Mumbai, respectively, for rendering humanitarian assistance to all the passengers and the family members. AAIB, DGCA and Flight Safety Departments have reached to investigate the incident," Air India Express was quoted as saying by ANI.