17 dead, 173 hospitalized after Air India Express flight skids off runway in Kerala with 191 people on board, splits in two
Officials also confirmed that both the pilot and co-pilot perished in the disastrous crash landing.
Media reports said the plane overshot the runway, fell into a valley and broke up. Images and video circulating on social media showed the aircraft broken into two pieces with rescue operations underway.
There were total 184 passengers, including 10 infants and 6 crew members, including 2 pilots onboard #AirIndiaExpress flight (IX-1344) from Dubai to #Kozhikode that broke into two pieces at the airport.#KozhikodeAirCrash#Keralapic.twitter.com/jNwHsVdG2R— Smitha T K (@smitha_tk) August 7, 2020
Dubai Kozhikode Air India Express flight crashes 190 people on board ! pic.twitter.com/xFNbqkWaw6— Neeta Sharma (@NEETAS11) August 7, 2020
India's NDTV news said all those surviving on board had been evacuated from the aircraft.
The disaster happened at around 7PM local time amid heavy rainfall in the area.
India's Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told the DD News broadcaster that the captain "could not land the first time" due to weather conditions and had turned around and tried to approach the airport from another direction.
The Blood Donors India volunteer group has issued an urgent plea for people to come forward to donate blood at two hospitals in the city of Kozhikode.Also on rt.com WATCH: Rescuers comb Air India Express crash site in desperate search for survivors
The flight was part of the 'Vande Bharat' government-run program to bring back Indians stranded in foreign countries amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
India's Interior Minister Amit Shah wrote on social media that he was “distressed” by the incident at Kozhikode, and has directed the National Disaster Response Force to assist the rescue efforts.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also expressed his condolences to the victims and their families, wishing a speedy recovery for those injured.
Air India Express created helpline for relatives of passengers and crew and put out a statement confirming that 10 infants were among those carried on the aircraft.
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