Kerala plane crash: All passengers evacuated from crash site, urgent meeting called in Delhi
The Union civil aviation ministry has called an urgent meeting with officials of Air India Express and the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in New Delhi in the aftermath of the Kerala plane crash that has now led to loss of 20 lives and serious injuries to scores of passengers, according to the latest report late on Friday night.
The meeting comes after the ministry’s announcement of a probe by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) into the tragic accident of Air India express flight number AXB-1344, which was landing from Dubai at around 7:41 pm with 191 persons on board and overshot the runway in rainy conditions and went down 35 ft into a slope before breaking up into two pieces.
Captain Deepak Sathe, a former Indian Air Force pilot, who was flying the aircraft and his co-pilot Akhilesh Kumar have died. Initial reports suggested that the pilots tried to land twice and Sathe tried his best to control the aircraft while landing on a wet runway after heavy rains but it skidded off the runway. The maximum impact was felt at the front of the aircraft, according to initial assessments carried out at the spot by authorities.
As per the latest information from Malappuram collector, search and rescue operation had been finished and all injured including the one person who was stuck in the aircraft till late, have been shifted to various hospitals in Malappuram and Kozhikode.
Officials said the death toll, which includes four children, is likely to go up as many injured are in serious condition. Kozhikkode airport has been closed for now.
Air India Express has set up help centres at Sharjah and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dubai helpline is +97142079444.
Kozhikode collector has also set up a helpline number-- 0495 – 2376901—for providing information related to the crash.
The flight was one among the several being operated under the Vande Bharat Mission being run by the Indian government to bring home Indian citizens stuck abroad due to restrictions on international travel due to coronavirus pandemic. After the crash, Air India Express issued a statement of regret and added that the flights under the mission will continue.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier spoken to Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Viajayan to take stock of the relief and rescue missions, which involved several departments of state government and NDRF teams.